Apple: An important milestone in the US tech giant’s drive to increase production in India has been made with the start of AirPod component production in India by a key supplier to Apple Inc.
People with knowledge of the situation who asked to remain anonymous because the move isn’t public claimed that the Indian division of Jabil Inc. has started sending AirPods enclosures, or plastic bodies, to China and Vietnam, where the wireless headphones are manufactured.
Apple is expanding production in India in order to lessen its reliance on China, where manufacturing has become riskier due to US trade sanctions and Covid-related interruptions. The iPhone is the only product that is now partially produced in India, with AirPods becoming the second.
Growing India’s manufacturing sector is a national priority for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has offered financial incentives and government support for business growth plans. With partners like Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. producing more iPhones in the nation for the most recent generation than ever before, Apple has played a key role in that effort.
According to its website, Pune, western India, is home to an 858,000 square foot (80,000 square meters) plant run by US manufacturing services firm Jabil that employs more than 2,500 people. Attempts to reach Jabil representatives for comment were unsuccessful.
The largest manufacturer of “true wireless stereo” products, which includes earbuds and headphones, is Apple. It has a 31% market share after shipping 23.8 million units in the third quarter.
While New Delhi has given more than a dozen of its Chinese suppliers’ preliminary approval to ramp up via joint ventures with Indian partners, India is still some time away from convincing Apple to completely produce AirPods locally. One of Apple’s Chinese suppliers, Luxshare Precision Industry Co Ltd., which makes AirPods, is one of the businesses receiving that endorsement. In 2020, Luxshare agreed to acquire a closed Motorola facility in Tamil Nadu, India, but has not yet started producing Apple goods there.
Apple’s most recent marketing campaign in India coincides with plans being developed by Modi’s administration to provide financial incentives for domestic production of wireless headphones and smartwatches, one of the sources said.