This has been one of Apple’s wishes for more than 4 years now: to reduce dependence on China for the production of its iPhones and other products. To diversify the location of its assembly plants, Apple trusts India, a country that absolutely wants to become the “future China” for the manufacture of our high-tech products. Unfortunately, not everything goes as planned…
The expansion of Apple’s partner factories is a taboo subject in India
Apple’s objective is to gradually move from “Made in China” to “Made in India”, in other words, to transfer part of Chinese production to India where the measures against Covid-19 are less constraining and where the government is less strict in its decisions towards companies.
Unfortunately for Apple, this initiative to favor iPhone production in India is complicated a little by the impossibility of expanding the infrastructures that house the production chains.
Indeed, when Apple wants to produce more, it is necessary for partner companies to enlarge the area of their factories, except that it is not always as simple as one thinks. The sites where the iPhones are produced are very often located in rural areas, which means that to expand the factories, it is sometimes necessary to take the land of a farmer who is next to the factories that already exist.
And that’s where it gets stuck…
If the national government is not against it, it gets stuck with the local governments. In India, there are governments national, state and municipal. The fact that more and more authority was substantial in local government led to regular conflicts between the three levels, which became more messy.
On the one hand, we have the national government which systematically says “yes” when there are job creations in sectors where the unemployment rate is very high and on the other hand there are the local governments which fight so that the peasants retaining their land.
As a result, companies that work with Apple for manufacturing in India are stuck expanding their factories and adding new production lines, meaning Apple can’t yet take advantage of “Made in India.”
How long will these blockages last?
It’s impossible to say at the moment, but there is a good chance that the plan to gradually abandon “Made in China” is Longer than expected for Apple.
The other solution for companies that manufacture iPhones would be to build new factories rather than expand existing sites, the problem is that it is not the same cost.