It would be another important step to make Apple more independent of China: According to a media report, the manufacturer Foxconn from Taiwan has won a large order for AirPods, which are to be (also) manufactured in India in the future. More than 200 million US dollars in investment funds are to flow into a new factory in the state of Telangana in the south of the country, writes the Reuters news agency, citing two informed people.
AirPod component production already started
The fact that AirPods production is to be set up in India has been known for a long time and had become apparent. At the beginning of the year, it was said that Apple had found a company to manufacture key components for the true wireless earplugs on the subcontinent. The Indian subsidiary of the US contract manufacturer Jabil builds the AirPods bezels out of plastic. These could then be used by Foxconn on site – and not just in China or Vietnam, where the audio devices are currently being built.
It’s unclear at this point how big the order is, but given the cost of the factory, it could be significant. Foxconn is Apple’s central manufacturer for the iPhone and covers 70 percent of the entire production there. However, the company has not yet built AirPods, these come from other contract manufacturers such as Luxshare ICT. This Chinese manufacturer, in turn, had already significantly expanded locations in Vietnam.
Make good vibes in relationship with Apple
A source who spoke to Reuters said Foxconn had been debating internally for months whether the company should make AirPods at all given the relatively tight margins. In the end, the decision was made “to strengthen the commitment with Apple,” it said – so to create a good atmosphere in the relationship. Most recently, there had been massive problems with iPhone production in Zhengzhou, China, where Foxconn operated what was then the only plant where the Pro models were made. That cost Apple parts of the Christmas business.
The factory in Telangana is to be built by the Foxconn subsidiary Foxconn Interconnect Technology and will not start until the end of 2024 at the earliest. The decision to go to India was made by Apple. Foxconn hopes for follow-up orders. In addition to Luxshare ICT, the company also competes with the direct Taiwanese competitors Pegatron and Wistron.
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