Tata Group closes in on deal to become first Indian iPhone maker

Tata Group, India’s biggest conglomerate, is near an agreement to get an Apple Inc. supplier’s factory as soon as possible, marking the first time a local company would head into the assembly of iPhones, revealed by individuals familiar with the matter. A takeover of the Wistron factory in southern Karnataka state, potentially valued at more than US$600 million (S$805 million), would cap about a year of negotiations, conveyed the people, demanding not to be named for their privacy.

The facility hires more than 10,000 workers, who assemble the latest iPhone 14 model. Wistron has agreed to ship iPhones worth at least US$1.8 billion from the factory in the fiscal year through March 2024 to win state-backed financial incentives, the people said. It also aimed to triple the plant’s workforce by next year. Tata is set to be committed those promises as Wistron walks out of the iPhone business in India. Spokesmen for Tata, Wistron and Apple denied to comment.

The inclusion of an Indian iPhone is tentatively going to add momentum to Apple’s attempts to broaden its product base beyond China and will lead to growth of technology production in the South Asian nation.  India has been successful in domestic manufacturing since Prime Minister Narendra Modi put up government programmes with profitable financial inducement to grow production and employment. Apple has been making more attempts to expand away from China in the aftermath of the nation’s Covid lockdowns and growing stress between Washington and Beijing.