Tata Group Breaks Ground as First Indian iPhone Maker

Historic tech leap: Tata Group, the first Indian firm to join iPhone assembly, set to reshape India's manufacturing capability

Tata Group Breaks Ground as First Indian iPhone Maker

Tuesday July 11, 2023,

3 min Read

The Tata Group, India's largest and most renowned conglomerate, is reportedly on the brink of a groundbreaking agreement to acquire an Apple supplier's factory, potentially marking a paradigm shift in the landscape of the global technology industry. According to Bloomberg, this agreement could materialise as early as August, and would make Tata the first Indian company to enter the iPhone assembly fray.

The acquisition, valued at over $600 million, involves taking over the Wistron Corporation's factory located in Karnataka. This development concludes nearly a year-long negotiation period. Currently employing over 10,000 workers, the factory assembles the latest iPhone 14 models.

Wistron has pledged to ship a colossal $1.8 billion worth of iPhones from this factory in FY24, in order to secure state-backed financial incentives. They also plan to triple the plant’s workforce by next year. Ensuring a smooth transition, Tata Group has committed to honor these obligations upon Wistron's exit from India's iPhone manufacturing sector.

This landmark acquisition places India in a more prominent role within Apple's diversified manufacturing strategy. India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership, has made strides in domestic manufacturing, aided by government initiatives that offer enticing financial incentives to boost production and employment. This development falls in line with Apple's objective to diversify its production beyond China, particularly following the impact of Covid-related lockdowns and the escalating tension between the US and China.

This potential deal not only propels the Tata Group into the forefront of technology manufacturing but could also motivate other global brands to reconsider their manufacturing strategies and reduce reliance on China. The Tata Group, known for its diverse portfolio from salt to tech services, has recently ventured into electronics production and e-commerce, marking new territories for the century-old conglomerate.

Interestingly, Tata already manufactures iPhone chassis at its factory in Tamil Nadu. Furthermore, as confirmed by Chairman N Chandrasekaran, the conglomerate is fostering ambitions to venture into semiconductor manufacturing, further deepening its imprint in the technology production landscape.

If the deal materialises, this could mean that the upcoming iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Plus models might be manufactured in India, as claimed by an earlier report by TrendForce. This step could lead to India being included in the first wave of shipments for the new iPhone series, slated for a September launch.

This potential deal symbolises the growing strength of India's tech manufacturing sector and can boost Prime Minister Modi's initiatives to transform India into a global manufacturing hub. The possibility of an Indian company, Tata Group, manufacturing iPhones, is a notable testament to India's growing prowess in the global electronics market. As Tata Group ventures further into this new realm, the world watches in anticipation.

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