India has one of the biggest mobile markets in the world, as you would expect from a country that is home to more than 17.5 per cent of the world’s population. However, only seven per cent of India’s smartphones are produced in the country, with the rest imported. And Apple hasn’t been allowed to sell phones there at all, as it didn’t maintain a single manufacturing center in the country.
That may be about to change however, as the government has now granted Foxconn the funding and the permission it needs to set up new fabrication facilities in Maharashtra, a heavily populated state located in western India.
As well as potentially giving Apple a chance to sell phones in the Country, the high number of willing workers will no doubt also be attractive both to Apple and to Foxconn. Both companies have encountered significant problems with their Chinese workforces, where a tightening labor market has caused wage increases and required improved (that is, more costly) working conditions. This has decreased margins, and has as a result raised India’s profile as a location for new production facilities.
This move is being welcomed by many members of Prime Minister Modi’s government, including India’s chief minister Devendra Fadnavis, who said in a statement (via CultofMac):
“Our country is rapidly urbanizing, so our PM has unveiled his vision of making smart cities. India’s most urbanised state, Maharashtra has much to contribute to it and thus would welcome Chinese expertise and investment in this sector.”
The question now is, when these new facilities are built, will Foxconn and Apple learn from their experience in running dangerous and depressing manufacturing plants in China, or will they repeat the same mistakes?