Apple has announced it has kicked off the production of the iPhone 14 in India nearly three weeks after the launch of the smartphone lineup, a significant win for the South Asian country as it attempts to grab a bigger piece of the global electronics supply chain.

Apple said that it is “excited to be manufacturing [the] iPhone 14 in India.” It is the first time that Apple has started producing its newest phones outside of China so soon after their launch.

For now, only the 6.1-inch iPhone 14 model is being built in India. The tech giant disclosed that additional models, including the iPhone 14 Plus, could follow in a matter of months.

Traditionally, Apple keeps the manufacture of new iPhones entirely in China until it is confident that production of the devices is running smoothly. Only then does it begin producing the latest models in other countries, like India.

Apple started assembling its budget iPhone SE in India in 2017 via a smaller iPhone assembler Wistron. Two major assemblers, Foxconn and Pegatron, later expanded production in India and helped Apple assemble some parts of the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 models in the South Asian country. In April, Apple confirmed it had started to build iPhone 13 in India — more than half a year after it introduced the product.

Most iPhones are still built in China: in the Chinese cities of Zhengzhou and Shenzhen by Foxconn, in Shanghai by Pegatron, and in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, by Luxshare Precision Industry.

Foxconn is still the biggest supplier, securing orders to build three different models of the latest range, including the iPhone 14, and is the primary source for the premium iPhone 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max models. Pegatron and Luxshare mainly assemble the standard iPhone 14 and 14 Plus models, they said.

Apple has started to diversify production out of China, its main production base, in recent years. It asked suppliers as early as 2018 to evaluate producing some AirPods outside of the country, with the test production of the earphones beginning in Vietnam the following year. Apple also plans to build iPads and the Apple Watch in Vietnam as it attempts to lower its dependence on the world’s second-largest economy.

Musa Suleiman
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