‘Made in India’ iPhone production suspended to comply with government’s 21-day Coronavirus lockdown

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Published: March 25, 2020 1:35:12 PM

Foxconn makes the iPhone XR in Chennai while Wistron makes the iPhone 7 in India in Bengaluru.

appleApple’s manufacturing partners, Foxconn and Wistron Corp, have ‘temporarily’ suspended all iPhone production. (Photo credit: Reuters)

Apple’s manufacturing partners, Foxconn and Wistron Corp, have ‘temporarily’ suspended all iPhone production to comply with government of India’s 21-day lockdown to curb the spread of novel coronavirus. The surprise announcement of a 21-day lockdown was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a televised address to the nation on March 24 – it is one of the strictest measures taken by any government to curb the COVID-19 pandemic.

Foxconn makes the iPhone XR in Chennai while Wistron makes the iPhone 7 in India in Bengaluru. Foxconn said it was suspending operations until April 14, according to a Bloomberg News report. It would resume production basis of further government directive. Wistron was also ‘adhering’ to the order, as per the report. Foxconn and Wistron make other electronics too since they’re both contract manufacturers. It isn’t immediately clear which other products would be affected in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown in India.

Apple is in the midst of perhaps its biggest India push at this point of time with CEO Tim Cook being quite vocal about India as a ‘key’ market for Cupertino’s growth in the future even as it sees sales dip in its home market. Apple is gearing to launch its first online store in India this year, and its first physical retail store here in 2021. The move would also help Apple bring its hallmark services like Apple Care to India as is so Apple users here would be able to make ‘more’ out of their purchase.

Because India remains to be the most expensive places in the world to buy Apple products, including its iPhones. And changes made to import duty in the Union Budget 2020 have already – recently – made Apple hike prices of some of its iPhones by up to Rs 1,300. Making in India has helped somewhat. That’s especially true for the iPhone XR – that has been selling like hot cakes in India. Apple has been making the iPhone XR in India since October last year. The iPhone XR is the first and only iPhone in Apple’s history to receive a ‘substantial’ price cut soon after launch.

Apple was looking to recreate that ‘magic’ sort of by bringing in the iPhone 11, another ‘budget’ iPhone, into the ambit of Make in India but apparently due to a lack of supply chain and labour skilled enough to “produce the high-end, organic light-emitting diode models.”

It must be noted that Apple isn’t the only company suspending manufacturing in India in lieu of the COVID-19 outbreak. Samsung, Vivo and Oppo have also recently halted all manufacturing at their respective Greater Noida factories.

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