Apple’s Production Shift to India Hits Stumbling Blocks
Apple has been sending designers and engineers from California and China to factories in southern India, to train locals and help establish production.
However, the iPhone maker’s experience in recent months has demonstrated the scale of the work to be done in the country.
For instance, a 50% yield at a casings factory in Hosur run by Indian conglomerate Tata is faring badly compared with Apple’s goal for zero defects.
“We’re not talking the same scale of the Zhengzhou factory,” said Bain consultant Jue Wang, noting that Apple is at the start of its expansion into India.
Operations in India are not running at the same pace as China, said a former Apple engineer briefed on the matter: “There just isn’t a sense of urgency.”
A person involved in Apple operations said the process of expanding to India is slow in part because of logistics, tariffs and infrastructure.
The Apple engineers have also, at times, been housed at city-centre hotels in Chennai, two hours away from the factories where they are working.
This requires four hours of daily commuting, with occasionally poor WiFi connections along the route.
Despite these teething issues, analysts say India’s potential for Apple is huge.
Recent Apple jobs listings make clear it has major ambitions in the country, which is on track to surpass China as the world’s most populous nation this year.