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The company has been working with suppliers to ramp up manufacturing in India and shorten the lag in production of the new iPhone from the typical six to nine months for previous launches, according to people familiar with the matter. Apple, which long made most of its iPhones in China, is seeking alternatives as Xi Jinping’s administration clashes with the US government and imposes lockdowns across the country that have disrupted economic activity.
Analysts such as Ming-Chi Kuo of TF International Securities Group have said they anticipate Apple will ship the next iPhone from both countries at roughly the same time, which would have been a significant benchmark in Apple’s efforts to diversify its supply chain and build redundancy.
Foxconn Technology Group, the primary manufacturer of iPhones, studied the process of shipping components from China and assembling the iPhone 14 device at its plant outside the southern Indian city of Chennai, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the efforts are confidential. That included looking at ways to maintain Apple’s high standards for confidentiality.
Apple and Foxconn ultimately determined a simultaneous start in India and China isn’t realistic this year, although it remains a long-term goal, said the people. The first iPhone 14s from India are likely to be finished in late October or November, following the initial September release, they said. An ambitious target would be the Diwali festival that begins Oct. 24, one person said.
A spokesman for Cupertino, California-based Apple declined to comment. Foxconn did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Redington India Ltd., which distributes Apple products in the country, rose as much as 9.5% after Bloomberg’s initial report.
Matching China’s pace of iPhone production would have marked a major milestone for India, which has been touting its attractiveness as an alternative at a time when rolling Covid lockdowns and US…