Apple mulling on making iPads in India, reportedly lobbying for increased export incentive budget

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Apple iPads have been traditionally manufactured in China, though some of that production will shift to Vietnam later this year. Apart from Vietnam, the Cupertino-giant may also start making iPads in India soon if its negotiations with the Indian Government fructify.

Apple has already been manufacturing iPhones in India since 2018 as part of the “Make in India” initiative to avoid import taxes. Apparently, the Indian Government wants to promote manufacturing of other IT solutions including tablets, smartphones, servers, etc. as well, and Apple wants to make the most of this opportunity.

Under the current performance-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, manufacturers get to avail a cash-back budget of up to ₹70 billion (US$964.5 million) over five years for exports. There’s another PLI being planned at a budget of ₹50 billion over five years to boost local manufacturing of wearables such as smartwatches.

Reuter‘s sources say that Apple is lobbying for a budget of up to ₹200 billion as it reportedly feels that India does not yet have the scale or supply chain for manufacturing IT products and that it competes with duty-free imports.

Apple-supplier Foxconn is currently building lines for MacBooks and iPads in Vietnam. In India, Apple will likely leverage current suppliers in the country such as Wistron, Foxconn, and Pegatron, for making iPads. The Indian Government apparently wants Apple to use non-Chinese companies for contract manufacturing in the country, which means slim opportunities for Chinese iPad assemblers such as BYD Electronic International.

Apple’s current three contract manufacturers have committed to invest US$900 million over the next five years to make iPhones in India. Foxconn is also looking to invest US$1 billion to expand its Sriperumbudur facility, 60 km from the South Indian city of Chennai. The premiere contract manufacturer also has a separate facility in Sri City, 100 km from Chennai, for making Xiaomi phones.

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