By Sudarshan Varadhan and Yimou Lee
NEW DELHI/TAIPEI (Reuters) – Apple supplier Foxconn plans to quadruple the workforce at its iPhone factory in India in two years, two government officials with knowledge of the matter said, pointing to output tightening as faces disruptions in China.
Foxconn has made headlines in recent weeks, with tight virus restrictions at its Zhengzhou plant, the world’s largest iPhone factory, disrupting production and fueling concerns about the impact of China’s virus policy on chains. global supply.
The outages prompted Apple to lower its forecast for shipments of premium iPhone 14 models this week, lowering its sales outlook for the busy year-end holiday season.
Taiwan-based Foxconn now plans to increase the workforce at its plant in southern India to 70,000 by adding 53,000 more workers over the next two years, said the sources, who declined to be named because the discussions are private.
While the size of the plant in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu is dwarfed by Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant, which employs 200,000 workers, it is central to Apple’s efforts to move production out of China. China.
Foxconn, formally called Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd, opened the India plant in 2019 and has been ramping up production. It started producing the iPhone 14 this year.
Foxconn’s interest in expanding the facility is known, but the scale of the planned expansion and timelines were not previously reported.
Both Foxconn and Apple declined to comment.
Foxconn Chairman Liu Young-way said on an earnings call on Thursday that the company would adjust its production capacity and output so as not to be impacted by further potential supply disruptions for the Christmas and New Year holidays. Mole.
Foxconn has shared its plans with Tamil Nadu officials about accelerating its hiring efforts at the Indian plant due to disruptions in China, the first government source said.
Beyond iPhones, the plant also makes products for other global tech firms, but the new hiring push is mainly due to its need to meet growing demand for iPhones, the person added.
A person in Taiwan with knowledge of the matter said Foxconn was expanding its operations in India to increase capacity for entry-level models and meet Indian demand.
“We are gradually increasing our production scale there,” the person said, declining to give details of its hiring plans in India.
The second government source in India, a senior Tamil Nadu administration official, said the state government was working with Foxconn to “finalize” the expansion.
On October 27, the state’s investment promotion arm tweeted that senior government officials had traveled to Taiwan and met with Liu. They had “discussed in detail Foxconn’s plans for new ventures and investments” and offered government support.
The state was having discussions with vendors to address issues such as housing facilities for workers as it looked to expand, the first administration official said.
Last year, Foxconn’s Tamil Nadu plant was at the center of a massive food poisoning incident that sparked protests from employees and shed light on the living conditions of workers in hostels near the factory.
Officials in Tamil Nadu, an automotive and electronics manufacturing hub, were also pushing Apple suppliers to diversify into making components for iPhones beyond simple assembly, the two government sources added.
iPhones are currently assembled in India by at least three of Apple’s global suppliers: Foxconn and Pegatron in Tamil Nadu; and Wistron in the nearby state of Karnataka.
JP Morgan analysts estimated in September that Apple could make one in four iPhones in India by 2025, and 25% of all Apple products, including the Mac, iPad, Apple Watch and AirPods, will be made outside of China by 2025. from the current 5%.
(Reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan; Additional reporting by Yimou Lee, Ben Blanchard, and Sarah Wu in Taipei and Paresh Dave in San Francisco; Writing by Munsif Vengattil and Aditya Kalra; Editing by Miyoung Kim and Stephen Coates)