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Tata Group poised to become first Indian firm to make iPhones

Apple's iPhone adopts Indian technology

Tata Group is poised to become the first Indian company to make iPhones as it is close to clinching an agreement for taking over Taiwanese company Wistron’s factory in Karnataka that is supplier for Apple smartphones, according to a Bloomberg report.

The acquisition by India’s leading company could happen as early as August, the financial news agency reported citing “people familiar with the matter.” The deal for the Wistron factory which assembles the latest iPhone 14 phones is valued at more than $600 million (Rs 5,000 crore).  The unit employs over 10,000 workers.

Wistron has committed to ship iPhones worth at least $1.8 billion from the factory in the current financial year ending on March 2024 to become eligible for financial assistance under the government’s productivity linked incentive (PLI) scheme. The Tata group is expected to go ahead with the company expansion plans which will see a tripling of the work force at the plant to fulfil the Taiwanese company’s commitment.

The development comes in the backdrop of Apple looking at the fast growing Indian economy as a fast growing market and an alternative to China for diversifying its manufacturing base.

Wistron has already exported nearly $500 million worth of iPhones from India in the April-June quarter.

Apple CEO Tim Cook had personally come to India to open the company’s first retail stores in the country and called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his trip.

India has made rapid progress in domestic manufacturing of electronics since PM Modi launched the PLI scheme that provides attractive financial incentives to companies for expanding investments and employment in the country.

For the Tata Group this represents a big step forward in the electronics sector as it already makes iPhone chassis, or the metal backbone of the device, at its factory in Tamil Nadu.