The India-made iPhone is projected to account for 12% to 14% of Apple’s global iPhone shipments in 2023, according to a leading analyst, who further anticipates that the importance of the South Asian market to Apple will notably rise in the coming year.
Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities said Wednesday that Apple, contingent on favorable conditions, will elevate its India-made iPhone shipments to constitute 20% to 25% of its global total by next year. Kuo’s projection aligns with an earlier forecast from JPMorgan last year, which suggested that Apple might shift 25% of its total iPhone production to India by 2025.
Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Foxconn currently “owns” between 75% and 80% of India’s iPhone production capacity, said Kuo, who has earned a reputation for his in-depth understanding of Apple’s supply chain and for revealing numerous details not yet public. This dynamic is expected to shift somewhat as the Indian conglomerate Tata Group begins iPhone manufacturing at the Wistron production line it has acquired in the country.
“By making India’s Tata an iPhone assembler (already acquired Wistron’s iPhone production lines in India), Apple can strengthen its relationship with the Indian government. This move will benefit future sales of iPhones and other products in India and is critical to Apple’s growth over the next decade,” he said.
India is increasingly becoming a key market for Apple. The iPhone maker this year opened its first two official India retail stores and is eyeing expanding its services portfolio in the country. It has engaged with lender HDFC Bank to explore the launch of Apple Pay in India, TechCrunch earlier reported.
Apple, which began assembling iPhones in India about five years ago, is also beginning to court more Indians to purchase its handsets. Between July and September, the Cupertino firm shipped more than 2.5 million iPhone units in India, research firm Counterpoint said Wednesday, calling it Apple’s best ever quarter in the South Asian market.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is increasingly courting major companies to expand their businesses in India. Google said last month that it will soon begin manufacturing the Pixel smartphone lineup in India.
New Delhi is actively offering financial incentives worth billions of dollars to attract global companies to establish manufacturing operations in India. The incentives come at a time when many firms — including Apple — are looking to cut their reliance on China for manufacturing their devices in what analysts often call “China + 1” strategy.
“Mobile manufacturing was practically negligible [in India] nine years back,” India’s IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said at an event last month. “Our Prime Minister’s vision of Make-in-India and Digital India, the entire thing has gotten translated to real action on the ground, and today we have close to $44 billion in mobile manufacturing and exports of mobile phones is at $11 billion. It’s generating huge employment.”
Kuo also expects Apple to commence the introductory production for the standard iPhone 17, expected to launch in the second half of 2025, in India in the second half of next year. According to Kuo, this will mark Apple’s first instance of initiating the development of a new iPhone model outside China. The standard iPhone was selected for its less complex design development, thereby minimizing design risk, he said.
Kuo estimates that by 2024, Foxconn’s production capacity in Zhengzhou and Taiyuan, China, will decline by 35% to 45% and 75% to 85%, respectively.
“In addition to expanding production in India, Luxshare’s rapid increase in iPhone order allocation and improvements in production line automation are also the main reasons for the production scale reduction,” he wrote.