Why Apple is heading to India

Apple’s first-ever retail store in India is set to open any day now, but that’s hardly the only move the giant-est tech giant is making into the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

What’s going on: Apple plans to make 10 million iPhones in India this year, 3.5 million more than in 2022, with the potential to produce 25% of all iPhones there by 2025, per Bloomberg.

  • India will also crank out AirPods, Apple Pencils, and parts for Apple Watches, iPads, and Macs after three of Apple’s assembly partners deliver on setting up new facilities.

  • In addition to turning India into a major hub, Apple is looking to expand production in Vietnam for AirPods and Macs, Malaysia for Macs, and Ireland for simpler products. 

Why it’s happening: Ramping up production around the world will come at the expense of production in China. Apple has a deeper relationship with China than practically any other US company, but like any long-term pairing, the relationship is not without its problems. 

  • The big issue is that, like Romeo and Juliet, Apple and China are from rival factions. As geopolitical tensions ratchet up, US Big Tech is expected to pledge allegiance.

  • For its part, China has also proven to be a shaky partner after factory closures during Covid lockdowns and a worrying trend of long-term population (read: workerdecline

India, with its rapidly growing population already full of highly-skilled tech workers and a less threatening geopolitical status, is the pretty new thing that is the apple of Apple’s eye.    

Why it matters: Apple consciously decoupling from China is a sure sign that the neo-Cold War is in full effect, and it has the potential to permanently reshape global supply chains.

Yes, but: Unless World War III breaks out, Apple won’t leave China entirely. “Google is not in China, Meta is not in China, Amazon is not in China,” one researcher told CNN, “So Apple is very reluctant and very careful to make sure… [it won’t] rock the boat.”—QH