Apple Inc has asked its suppliers to shift some AirPods and Beats
headphone production to India for the first time, according to a report by
Nikkei Asia. Apple iPhone assembler Foxconn is preparing to manufacture Beats
headphones in India and hopes to eventually produce AirPods in the country as
well, the report said.

Apple has been making attempts to gradually move out of China in an
attempt to reduce the risk of supply chain disruptions stemming from the
country’s strict zero-COVID policy and tensions with the US.

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The tech giant has been in talks with several of its suppliers over
increasing production in India as early as next year, reported Nikkei Asia.

Luxshare Precision Industry and its units, which manufacture AirPods in
Vietnam and China, are also planning to shift production of wireless earphones
to India. AirPods production shifted to Vietnam in 2019 due to the US-China
trade war. Over 70 million units of the product are shipped each year, next
only to the iPhone among Apple products in terms of shipment volume. The
majority of Beats production has also shifted to Vietnam since last year.

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According to a Bloomberg report, Apple Inc’s iPhone exports from India
crossed $1 billion in the five months since April, signaling the country is
making progress with its bid to become a force in electronics manufacturing.

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At the current rate, the export of India-made iPhones to Europe and
Central Asia is set to reach $2.5 billion in the 12 months through March 2023.
That’s almost double the $1.3 billion worth of iPhones India shipped in the
year through March 2022.

Apple’s Taiwan-based contract manufacturers Foxconn Technology Group,
Wistron Corporation, and Pegatron Corporation currently make iPhones at plants
in Southern India. All three won manufacturing incentives under a centre
government plan.

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However, India is still far behind China. Around 3 million iPhones were
made in India last year, compared with 230 million in China, according to
Bloomberg Intelligence estimates.

The devices exported from India from April to August this year include
iPhone 11, iPhone 12, and 13 models. Exports of the new 14 range will start
soon. Apple started making the iPhone 14 in India last month, sooner than
expected, after a smooth production rollout that slashed the lag between
Chinese and Indian output from months to mere weeks. Foxconn’s plant is located
in Sriperumbudur near Chennai. iPhone 12 and SE, SE1 models are made at
Wistron’s unit in Bengaluru.

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According to Bloomberg Intelligence analysis, it would take about eight
years to move just 10% of Apple’s production capacity out of China, where about
98% of the company’s iPhones are being made.

Initially, Apple’s move to India was being looked at as a measure to
serve the huge local market but now it is looking at the country as a strategic
production base, with exports intended for markets such as Europe and Central