In an exciting development, Tata Group, India's largest conglomerate, is on the verge of acquiring a factory owned by an Apple Inc. supplier. This move marks a significant milestone as it would be the first time a local company ventures into the assembly of iPhones.
The factory in question belongs to Wistron Corp., located in southern Karnataka state, and the estimated acquisition value exceeds $600 million.
The factory under consideration employs over 10,000 workers assembling the latest iPhone 14 model. Wistron has committed to shipping iPhones worth a minimum of $1.8 billion from this facility in the fiscal year ending March 2024, which enables them to receive state-backed financial incentives.
Furthermore, Wistron plans to triple the plant's workforce by the next year. As the prospective acquirer, Tata Group aims to honor these commitments as Wistron exits the iPhone business in India.
While the negotiations are underway, spokespersons for Tata, Wistron, and Apple have declined to comment on the matter. This silence adds to the intrigue surrounding this potential acquisition.
Adding an Indian iPhone manufacturing facility is significant for Apple's strategic goals. It would contribute to their ongoing efforts to diversify their product base beyond China and establish a stronger foothold in technology manufacturing in India.
Wistron, as an Apple supplier, has already exported nearly $500 million worth of iPhones from India in the three months ending June 30. Other prominent Taiwanese suppliers for Apple, such as Foxconn Technology Group and Pegatron Corp., have also expanded their local manufacturing operations.
India has been making remarkable strides in domestic manufacturing, thanks to the government programs initiated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These programs offer lucrative financial incentives to expand production and employment opportunities within the country.
The timing aligns perfectly with Apple's desire to diversify away from China, especially considering the Covid-related lockdowns and escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing.
By enabling an Indian company to manufacture iPhones, this potential acquisition could prove instrumental in Prime Minister Modi's ambitious goal of challenging China's status as the world's factory. Moreover, it may inspire other global electronics brands to seriously consider production in India to reduce their reliance on China.
With a history of 155 years, Tata Group operates across various industries, ranging from salt production to tech services. In recent years, the conglomerate has made notable forays into electronics production and e-commerce, two relatively new territories for the Tata family.
Besides the potential factory acquisition, Tata already manufactures iPhone chassis at a large facility in Tamil Nadu state, showcasing their expanding capabilities in the tech manufacturing sector.
N Chandrasekaran, the Chairman of Tata, has expressed the company's ambitions in chipmaking. This suggests that Tata Group has even grander plans in the technology sector, which aligns with their determination to stay at the forefront of innovation and production.
This development and Tata Group's continued expansion into electronics production demonstrate their commitment to embracing new horizons in the ever-evolving technology landscape.