iPhone, made by Tata in India, could soon become reality
We may soon see an iPhone made in India by Tata Group. The homegrown multinational conglomerate is in talks with Apple's Taiwanese supplier Wistron Corp. to establish an electronics manufacturing joint venture in India. If the two reach an agreement, Tata would become the first Indian company to build iPhones. Both Tata and Wistron have declined to comment on the matter.
- There are very few consumer products that Tata does not make, smartphones being one of them. Well, maybe not for that long.
- If the deal comes through, Tata's entry into the exclusive group that manufactures iPhones will be a boost to both the country and the company.
- This deal could be the one that shifts the manufacturing paradigm in India's favor.
Tata makes salt to software but this is the first time the company has shown interest in making smartphones locally. The partnership with Wistron, which has been making iPhones in India since 2017, would give the company a much-need push in electronics and high-tech manufacturing. The Indian conglomerate is reportedly seeking Wistron's expertise in product development, supply chain, and assembly.
Details about the partnership between Tata and Wistron are under wraps as of now. Tata could either buy equity in Wistron's India operations or the companies could build a new plant, Bloomberg reported. They may decide to do both as well. Shareholding patterns and structure of the deal will be clear once the ongoing talks between the parties are over.
In India, iPhone is assembled by Taiwanese electronics manufacturing giants Foxconn, Pegatron, and Wistron. An Indian company in this elite group would be a huge boost for the country's aspirations. Considering the hit China's dominance in electronics manufacturing took due to COVID and tensions with the US, Tata's partnership with Wistron will help India convince other global brands to set up their base here.
Wistron manufactures iPhones in India at its Karnataka plant. The company's India business has been struggling with losses. A pact with a formidable local partner such as Tata will help the company cope with its struggles in India. This may also open Wistron an avenue into electronic vehicles. Many electronics manufacturing giants are eager to try their hand in EV manufacturing.
It is unclear as of now whether Apple is aware of the talks between Tata and Wistron. Considering the company's desire to diversify the production of iPhones away from China, it should be appreciative of this new development. Apple has also been looking to deepen its supply chain in India. However, manufacturing iPhones is no child's play.
Manufacturing iPhones means meeting Apple's tight deadlines and quality control. Usually, factories that manufacture iPhones run a tight ship with highly controlled practices. From what we have seen so far, India's workforce's adjustment to this hasn't been easy. Since iPhone manufacturing began in the country, there have been two protests by workers - one in Wistron's factory and the other in Foxconn's.