Up until now, the majority of iPhones have been built in China, but long-time Apple manufacturer Foxconn could be setting its sights on a new developing market: India.
According to the Economic Times, the Foxconn Technology Group is set to pour money into three new facilities in India — based in the country’s Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh provinces — with a view to building iPhones for its biggest client.
The first two of these facilities would reportedly be dedicated factory spaces, while the third may be geared toward R&D. Foxconn is said to have hired Josh Foulger, a senior Nokia executive with experience establishing a Nokia plant in India’s Chennai region, to help oversee the development of the new facilities.
The possible move comes on the back of the Indian government’s “Make In India” initiative, which advertises India as a strong manufacturing or business base for overseas companies.
Recently India’s Communications and I.T. Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad met with Apple’s regulatory head for Europe, Middle East, India and Africa to urge him to push for an Apple R&D facility in India, much as the company already has in the United Kingdom, China and Israel.
However, Foxconn’s decision isn’t necessarily as it would seem. Just last year a Foxconn subsidiary closed three Nokia plants in India’s Chennai region — known as India’s Detroit, thanks to its automotive manufacturing — resulting in the laying off of around 1,700 employees.
Meanwhile, a separate report published today claims that a Brazilian Foxconn factory has largely failed to generate the jobs promised, and is considered a disappointment.
Still, the push into India is a smart one, even with these challenges. Apple’s business has grown steadily in the country over recent years; selling $730 million worth of stock in the fiscal year 2013-2014 alone. If India is the next big developing market after China, both Foxconn and Apple have everything to gain from establishing a foothold there as early as possible.