Apple iPhone exports from India double from April to August: Report

At current rates, outbound shipments of India-made Apple iPhones, mainly to Europe and the Middle East, are set to touch $2.5 billion in the 12 months to March 2023, it said.

Apple Inc.’s iPhone exports from India surpassed $1 billion in the five months to April, according to people familiar with the matter, signaling the South Asian nation is making progress with its bid to become a force in electronics manufacturing.

It would take about eight years to move just 10% of Apple’s production capacity out of China, where about 98% of the company’s iPhones are made.

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At current rates, outbound shipments of India-made iPhones, mainly to Europe and the Middle East, are set to reach $2.5 billion in the 12 months to March 2023, the people said. That’s nearly double the $1.3 billion worth of iPhones exported to India by March 2022, the people said, asking not to be named because the data is not public.

While India makes only a small share of iPhone output, growing exports bode well for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans to make the country an alternative to China as the world’s factory. Apple, which has long made most of its iPhones in China, is looking for alternatives as Xi Jinping’s administration clashes with the US government and imposes nationwide lockdowns that have disrupted economic activity.

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“Apple’s manufacturing scale and healthy growth in exports indicate that India is gradually assuming an important place in the company’s China Plus One strategy,” said Navkender Singh, analyst at tech researcher IDC. “And for India, this is a big sign of the success of its fiscal stimulus plan.”

Apple iPhone exports from India double from April to August: Report

Apple representatives did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. The Cupertino, California-based company flirted with the idea of making its pricier iPhones in India before Modi’s $6 billion stimulus push in 2020 lured the US tech giant to its suppliers to ramp up production.

Apple’s main Taiwanese contract manufacturers Foxconn Technology Group, Wistron Corporation and Pegatron Corporation currently manufacture the iPhone at plants in southern India. All three won production incentives under the federal government’s scheme.

To be sure, India is still far behind China. About 3 million iPhones were made in India last year, compared with 230 million in China, according to Bloomberg Intelligence estimates.

Devices exported from India between April and August this year include the iPhone 11, 12 and 13 models, and exports of the iPhone 14 will begin soon, the people said. Apple started manufacturing the iPhone 14 in India last month — earlier than expected — after a surprisingly smooth production rollout that reduced the gap between Chinese and Indian production from months to just weeks.

In addition to smartphones, India is preparing plans to increase financial incentives for tablet and laptop manufacturers, hoping to attract Apple to manufacture MacBooks and iPads locally, as well as other brands.

But exiting China, where Apple has built a deep supply chain for nearly two decades, is not easy. A Bloomberg Intelligence analysis estimates that it would take about eight years to move just 10% of Apple’s manufacturing capacity out of China, where about 98% of the company’s iPhones are made.

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