Tata Group to manufacture iPhones in India, bolstering ‘Make in India’ initiative by acquiring Wistron

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In a groundbreaking move that heralds a new chapter in India’s tech manufacturing landscape, Tata Group, a colossal conglomerate with a diverse portfolio, is set to begin manufacturing iPhones for both local and global markets. The announcement, made by India’s Deputy IT Minister, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, on a significant Friday, has sent ripples of excitement through the tech industry.

This development comes moments after Wistron’s board gave the green light for the sale of its manufacturing plant, located in the southern part of India, to the tech-to-airline conglomerate, Tata Group. Wistron’s board formally approved the deal, which entails selling Wistron InfoComm Manufacturing (India) Pvt to Tata Group for a staggering $125 million.

Wistron, a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer, which is one of the three iPhone manufacturers in India, cited strategic considerations as the primary motive for this decision, aligning with the reconfiguration of the firm’s global manufacturing strategy.

The negotiations leading to this deal have been ongoing for over a year, representing a significant milestone for both companies. Tata Group, which is poised to become the first Indian entity to assemble iPhones, has chosen to remain tight-lipped about the specifics, heightening anticipation within the industry.

The Tata Group, with a rich history spanning 155 years, boasts an extensive range of businesses, from selling salt to producing steel and offering tech consultancy services. They recently announced plans to launch 100 Apple stores in the South Asian market, underlining their commitment to this venture.

India’s Deputy IT Minister, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, expressed his gratitude for this remarkable milestone on social media, thanking Wistron for their contributions and acknowledging Apple’s efforts to establish a global supply chain in India with Indian companies at the helm. He emphasized the government’s staunch support for the growth of Indian electronics companies and their role in realizing the Prime Minister’s vision of making India a global electronics powerhouse.

This announcement closely follows Google’s revelation of plans to assemble its Pixel smartphone lineup in India. Numerous companies are betting on India as a strategic “China + 1” manufacturing hub, aiming to reduce their reliance on China, a trend that has gained momentum in recent years.

The Indian government, on its part, is proactively offering substantial financial incentives to attract global companies and encourage them to establish manufacturing operations within the country. This commitment aligns with India’s growing domestic demand, policies supporting local manufacturing, including lower taxes and production-linked incentive schemes, and the export opportunities presented by the “China + 1” strategy of global players.

Industry analysts, such as those at Macquarie, have noted that India’s Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) industry, encompassing finished product and electronics manufacturing, is on the brink of robust medium-term growth due to these favorable conditions.

Meanwhile, Apple’s increasing focus on India, the world’s second-largest smartphone market, is a testament to the country’s immense potential. The company inaugurated its first two retail outlets in India earlier this year and is actively engaging with HDFC Bank to introduce the Apple Pay service, a move that could reshape the digital payment landscape in the country.

As Tata Group prepares to join the league of iPhone manufacturers in India, the nation’s tech manufacturing sector is poised for a significant transformation. This collaboration between an Indian conglomerate and a global tech giant not only signifies a major milestone for “Make in India” but also holds the potential to revolutionize the global tech manufacturing landscape, further strengthening India’s position as a key player in the industry.

(Source: Manish Singh | TechCrunch | The Morung Express)

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