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Indian Tata Group intends to buy a large Wistron iPhone factory.

Published: 2023-01-10

Indian diversified conglomerate Tata Group is close to signing a deal with Taiwan's Wistron, which has a large iPhone assembly plant in India. In the event that the deal is successfully closed, an Indian-owned iPhone maker will appear in the country for the first time.

Negotiations with Wistron have been going on for several months, the Indian company intends to close the deal by the end of March, two industry sources told the publication. Various options for interaction were discussed, but, according to the latest data, we are talking about Tata's purchase of a majority stake in a joint venture. Tata will oversee the overall production process with support from Wistron.

Today, iPhones are built primarily by Taiwanese manufacturing giants like Foxconn, Pegatron, and Wistron. The deal with Tata will allow India to create domestic rivals to Chinese manufacturing, which dominates the world of electronics - work in China has recently been overshadowed by COVID outbreaks and geopolitical conflicts.

As early as March 31, the basic procedures to complete the deal must be completed in order for Tata Electronics to officially take Wistron's place in the Indian government's program that provides benefits to electronics manufacturers. Benefits in accordance with the new "cycle" will begin to distribute as early as April 1 - at the beginning of the Indian fiscal year. According to some sources, Wistron's iPhone production cost in India could be in the order of $600 million, subject to certain conditions necessary to receive benefits.

Wistron is one of three Taiwanese iPhone companies in India, along with Foxconn and Pegatron. The company is expected to diversify the business, as iPhone production is actually quite low-margin for those who assemble them and move into hardware like servers. Specifically, in 2020, Wistron agreed to sell iPhone assembly in China to competitors. However, the latter are only expanding production lines in India to satisfy Apple's intention to move iPhone production out of China as much as possible.

The plant with an area of more than 200 thousand m2 is located 50 km from Bangalore. If the deal is completed successfully, Tata will have 8 assembly lines as well as 10,000 qualified employees, including a couple of thousand engineers. Wistron may remain a "service partner".

Tata is consistently taking steps to develop cooperation with Apple. It has accelerated the recruitment of new employees at its plant near Bangalore, which produces components for the iPhone. The territory of the enterprise occupies hundreds of hectares, here Tata may add production lines for the production of the iPhone in the coming years. In addition, Tata announced the opening of 100 Apple Stores in the country, with the first store opening in Mumbai this quarter.

Today, the Tata conglomerate, whose history spans more than 150 years, produces a variety of products - from branded salt and tea to Jaguar cars. The business operates local airlines and even Starbucks in the country. Tata is also involved in IT projects, including the development of super applications, and the management intends to pay more and more attention to the production of electronics. It was recently reported that iPhone exports from India have skyrocketed in the past nine months.