As Apple gears up to begin manufacturing iPhones in India as part of a deal to open retail stores in the country, it’s being reported that its main assembler – Foxconn – will not be the lead supplier. Instead, a company with existing smartphone manufacturing facilities in the country, Wistron, is said to have been selected by Apple as its primary supplier in India.
It’s not the first time we’ve heard iPhone-related rumors about Wistron …
Almost a year ago, it was rumored that Wistron would be a secondary supplier for both the iPhone SE and iPhone 7 Plus. Additional reports in July and December backed the idea of the company becoming an iPhone supplier in India.
Apple is believed to want to reduce its reliance on Foxconn and Pegatron in order to help drive down manufacturing costs and reduce supply-chain risk. If this latest rumor is true, it would be bad news for Foxconn which saw its first ever revenue decline last year on the back of slowing iPhone sales, hoping that the iPhone 8 would see it return to growth.
It was reported last year that Foxconn was planning to open a $10B iPhone manufacturing plant in India, though subsequent reports were more vaguer on whether the planned factory was in fact geared specifically to iPhone production.
Apple has been involved in long-running discussions with the Indian government about its plans there. The company wants to open a number of retail stores in the country, but has been prevented from doing so by laws requiring companies to manufacture 30% of their products within the country before they can open single-brand stores.
It then sought financial incentives to open iPhone factories in India, with the government reportedly looking at a creative way to agree to this without being seen to favor the company over competitors. Apple representatives are expected to meet with government officials this week.