If you’re big into Apple products, you’ve seen this on pretty much everything you own: “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China.” But if Foxconn, one of Apple’s major manufacturing contractors, has its way, your next iPhone, iPad or MacBook could read, “Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in India.”
Foxconn used to manufacture Nokia phones in India until the company’s mobile division was bought up by Microsoft. Since then, India’s high tech factories have been quiet. However, China is increasingly becoming a victim of its own success, with wage inflation driving many companies out of the Middle Kingdom.
The Taiwanese-owned company is not immune to these pressures. Apple remains one of Foxconn’s one of lucrative — if not the most lucrative — relationship the company has. Quanta Computer, a rival manufacturer, also assembles Apple’s products and is one of the direct competitors of Foxconn.
As Apple’s profile rose in the late ’90s, ’00s and ’10s, so did Foxconn’s. Reports of low wages, long work hours and employee suicides at its Chinese factories were widely reported in the media and was the basis of a now-debunked one man show. Though the negative publicity also tainted Apple, Foxconn does work other American high tech companies.
Moving operations to India will also help Apple gain a foothold in its booming economy. An iPhone 6 is about US$60 more than a comparable Samsung Galaxy S6. (Foxconn explored a similar option to manufacture in Brazil because of its steep import tax and its growing middle class.)
Foxconn plans on building out about 10 facilities in India, which includes factories and data centers.