India wants Apple, but not its Chinese partners

From Reuters’ “Apple lobbies for India incentives as it plans iPad assembly: sources” posted Thursday:

Apple Inc is angling to participate in a new scheme to boost India’s exports of computer products, part of what government and industry sources say are plans to bring iPad tablet manufacturing to the South Asian country.

India launched a $6.7 billion plan to boost smartphone exports last year, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped up efforts to promote electronics manufacturing and create jobs…

Apple assembles a bulk of its iPads in China, but is fast diversifying production to markets such as India and Vietnam to minimize the impact of the U.S.-China trade war and the coronavirus crisis.

Its top supplier Foxconn is building assembly lines for iPads and MacBook laptops in Vietnam, Reuters reported late last year. Other iPad assemblers include Taiwan’s Compal Electronics and China’s BYD Electronic International.

In India, Apple will likely have iPad’s assembled by one of its existing suppliers in the country as early as this year, two of the sources said, though its plans could get delayed as India makes the entry of BYD difficult amid its wariness to give new tech business to Chinese companies.

“The government is asking Apple to get iPads assembled by its contract manufacturers here, the non-Chinese companies” one of the sources, a government official said.

My take: Doing business in India is tricky, I hear. Someone’s always getting shaken down.

BTW, BYD’s had a good year….

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8 Comments

  1. The avg age in India is 27, for comparison the US avg age is 38 years. It is a burgeoning ancient nation that values education & does not like mainland China developing ports in poorer nations around it. The parts infrastructure needed to assemble advanced electronics like iPad are nascent. They’ll still raze a few villages to build the necessary factories. Strikes are an issue, India has many political parties besides BJP. Note: I lived & worked in Bihar & Kolkata, India on and off from 1987 to 1996. 1/3 of my FB friends are actual Bengali friends still living in India. Fly over Bharat using Google Earth sometime, you’ll be amazed.

    4
    February 18, 2021
  2. Jerry Doyle said:
    It seems nations are on the brink of a new kind of Cold War. This is a Cold War that pits competing economic systems against each other in a battle for dominance. Corporations are getting caught in the crosshairs of this new kind of Cold War. In this new economic Cold War governments are using markets to create wealth that can be directed as political officials view it. My fear is all this has a potential threat to the global economy and demise of free market capitalism as nation states began to dictate how economic markets are carried out instead of corporations and other economic players.

    4
    February 18, 2021
    • David Emery said:
      (As recommended in a totally different discussion group), I’m reading Paul Kennedy’s “The Rise and Fall of British Naval Mastery” (originally written in 1976). One of his points is that military, particularly (capital-intensive) naval strength is a function of the nation’s economy as much as anything else.

      I think the notion of ‘a struggle for economic systems’ is accurate. It’s more than just competing economic systems, but also of political systems. State-supervised capitalism (money in exchange for ‘correct behavior’ on the part of the citizens) vs ‘anything goes’.

      5
      February 18, 2021
      • Kirk DeBernardi said:
        @ David Emery—

        “State-supervised capitalism (money in exchange for ‘correct behavior’ on the part of the citizens) vs ‘anything goes’.”

        When both interests dance to the money piper, don’t they become one in the same?

        Much like the United States, no?

        1
        February 18, 2021
  3. Romeo A Esparrago Jr said:
    Right on, David.

    India & China have been regional competitors since WWII, in terms of political, military, and business/economy/commerce influence. The 1962 Sino-Indian War is not forgotten & causes of that remain unresolved to this day, especially in contested land on their borders. This could be one of many factors why their govt does not want Chinese companies running Apple’s factories in India.

    3
    February 18, 2021
    • Jerry Doyle said:
      @David & Romeo: Conventional wisdom says that from India’s independence in 1947 (year I was born 🙂 ) until the late ‘80s, India’s economic policy reflected the statist personal views of prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru & his daughter, India Gandhi. During that period successive governments enforced state dominance of many economic sectors, rigid market regulations & laws that protected local companies from foreign competition. It wasn’t until the Indian government faced economic crisis in 1991 that they embraced free market reform as a matter of political survival. That’s when it began breaking up state monopolies & unshackling India’s private sector welcoming trade & foreign investments. In recent years market reformers began freeing the country’s entrepreneurs to drive India toward a future economic powerhouse to compete with China. But, I still see & experience when visiting India a nation poised between a state-dominated economic model of that earlier era & one driven by private enterprise. Thank heavens for a Tim Cook at the helm of Apple to navigate through this mixture.

      4
      February 18, 2021
  4. Korea & Japan essentially came in and built a modern car industry while I was there. The Premier Padmini was a 1940s leftover. Suzuki overcame all the same obstacles to make the Maruti. Cupertino is looking at a similar effort. One more thing, Indians embrace science, math and tech, generally, but still practice 300 faiths. Contradictions abound.
    New Apple phones are too expensive but the aftermarket for iPhones is intense. IP protection is improving too, except medicines.

    3
    February 18, 2021
    • David Emery said:
      I think it was William Dalrymple’s great “City of Djinns” (on a year living in Delhi) that talked about the Ambassador car produced in India.

      0
      February 18, 2021

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