Tata Group plans iPhone assembly plant in India

The Tata Group is planning to establish one of India’s largest iPhone assembly plants, aligning with Apple Inc.’s strategy to increase manufacturing in the country.

The proposed facility is intended for construction in Hosur, Tamil Nadu, and is anticipated to feature approximately 20 assembly lines, with a workforce of 50,000 employees within the next two years, according to sources familiar with the matter who opted for anonymity due to the confidential nature of the plans. The objective is to have the plant operational within 12 to 18 months.

This initiative is poised to support Apple’s efforts to localize its supply chain and enhance its collaboration with Tata. Tata already possesses an iPhone factory acquired from Wistron Corp in Karnataka. Apple is diversifying its production away from China by engaging with manufacturing partners in India, Thailand, Malaysia, and other locations.

While an Apple spokesperson declined to comment, a representative from Tata did not respond to requests for comments.

Tata Group has been taking strategic steps to strengthen its association with Apple and expand beyond its traditional business sectors, which include salt and software. The conglomerate has accelerated hiring at its existing facility in Hosur, where it manufactures iPhone enclosures. Additionally, Tata has announced plans to launch 100 retail stores exclusively focused on Apple products. Simultaneously, Apple has already opened two stores in India, with three more in the pipeline.

The production-linked subsidies initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi have incentivized key Apple suppliers like Foxconn Technology Group and Pegatron Corp to increase operations in India. This has allowed Apple to assemble iPhones worth over $7 billion in India in the previous fiscal year, elevating the country’s share of iPhone production to approximately 7%. The majority are still assembled in China, where all of them were produced until a few years ago.

The proposed new plant is expected to be of medium size compared to global iPhone factories, surpassing the one acquired from Wistron by Tata, which employs over 10,000 people, yet smaller than Foxconn’s largest facilities in China, which employ hundreds of thousands. Apple and Tata may seek government subsidies for the new factory, coinciding with the expected commencement of production just as prior state-backed financial incentives are due to expire.

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