Tata reportedly in talks with Wistron about iPhone production

Since Tata Group has been actively engaged in electronics and semiconductor manufacturing in recent years, Bloomberg sources quoted say Tata Group is in talks with Wistron about iPhone manufacturing collaboration, with many details still unclear.

Sources told Bloomberg that tata wants to use Wistron’s expertise in product development, supply chain and assembly to produce iPhones. Tata could acquire shares in Wistron’s India business or join forces to build a new assembly plant to increase the number of iPhones in India by as much as five times the number of iPhones produced in India at current levels.

However, people familiar with the case said: Bloomberg that the structure of the deal and details such as holdings are yet to be finalized. It’s unclear if Apple was aware of the talks, and Wistron declined to comment. Bloomberg reports. Tata and Apple have not responded to Bloomberg‘s requests for comment.

Hindu BusinessLine First reported Tata’s plan to venture into iPhone production in October 2020, when sources told Indian media that Tata’s Titan Engineering and Automation was planning to set up an iPhone component production line in Tamil Nadu.

In Dec 2020, The economic times quoted sources as reporting that Tata Electronics was looking into iPhone manufacturing, initially producing iPhone cases in Tamil Nadu and then partnering with Japanese and Korean manufacturers.

N Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Group, said that given the digital transformation and global relocation of the supply chain, it was announced in August 2021 that the group has established a company to fulfill the medium-term promise of high-tech electronics manufacturing, precision manufacturing and semiconductor ATMP.

According to Bloomberg, Wistron’s Indian company is struggling with losses, and a pact with Tata would help the company get a local partner with a lot of money. Nevertheless, in 2021, Wistron invested INR 13.5 billion (US$170 million) in Optiemus, an eligible candidate for the Production Linked Incentive for large-scale production (mobile phones and specified components), to help Optiemus grow from a workforce of 300 to more than 11 thousand in five years.

Apple has diversified its supply chain from China to India and Vietnam. Counterpoint Research estimates that India will account for 5 to 7% of global iPhone manufacturing units by 2022, still far behind China. In the meantime, The economic timesCiting sources, previously reported that Wistron’s iPhone production value in India could be worth INR 270 billion in 2022 out of INR 470 billion of total Indian-manufactured iPhones.