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Apple plans to move some iPad production to India, sources say

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Apple CEO Tim Cook leaves the Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai

Punish Paranjpe | AFP | Getty Images

India is exploring options to bring some of Apple’s iPad production into the country from China, according to two sources close to the Indian government. The tech giant is said to be in ongoing discussions with officials. No concrete plans have been made, but if the effort is successful, it would expand Apple’s footprint in the country.

Apple announced earlier this year that it had started assembling its flagship iPhone 14 in southern India. The tech giant has been producing older iPhone models in the country for a few years.

The tech giant’s ambitions to further diversify its supply chain outside of China follow protests across the country over the past two weeks under Beijing’s strict zero-Covid policy. Apple warned in early November that iPhone shipments would be delayed due to lockdowns in China, and analysts cut iPhone estimates for the crucial holiday quarter.

The Wall Street Journal reported over the weekend that Apple was actively looking to shift production from China to other countries in Asia, including India and Vietnam.

However, sources warn that a lack of highly skilled talent and people with expertise in building highly complex devices like the iPad could slow down those plans in India. The foreign policy context doesn’t help either, with growing tensions between India and China. The two countries have clashed in recent years over territorial disputes resulting in an increased military presence on the Indo-China border.

Gene Munster of Loop Ventures estimates that 10% of iPhones are made in India, but he expects production to increase at a slow pace.

“I think in five years 35% will be made in India,” Munster added. “I think Apple will add iPhone production to other countries outside of India and China over the next five years. Maybe Vietnam, Malaysia, and the United States.”

In a note to customers today, Piper Jaffray’s Harsh Kumar wrote: “While Apple has made efforts to move production out of China, in our opinion India still accounts for less than 5% of production total iPhone 14 and will likely only help to a limited degree at this time.”

Apple declined to comment.

Apple plans to move production out of China to India, reports The Wall Street Journal

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