Apple, Foxconn Efforts Lead to Labour Reforms Ahead of Plans to Ramp Up Production in India: Report

Apple and its supplier Foxconn were among the companies that lobbied for a landmark liberalisation of labour laws in Karnataka earlier this month, the Financial Times reported, citing three people familiar with the matter. The legislation led to the introduction of laws that now allows 12-hour shifts, as well as night-time work for women, similar to company practices in China, the report said.

Apple has been shifting production away from China after the country’s strict COVID-related restrictions disrupted the manufacturing of new iPhones and other devices in the country and also to avoid a big hit to its business from tensions between Beijing and Washington. The report comes a week after the Karnataka government said that Apple Inc’s iPhones would soon be assembled in the state and that a total of 300 acres have been set aside for a factory.

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Apple, Foxconn and the Karnataka government did not immediately respond to Reuters’ requests for comment.

Last week, Foxconn said it was seeking cooperation in India in new areas like chips and electric vehicles (EVs) after a visit to the country by its chairman, Liu Young-way.

In January, India’s trade minister said Apple, which began iPhone assembly in the country in 2017 through Wistron Corp and later Foxconn, wants India to account for up to 25 percent of its production from about 5 percent to 7 percent currently.

Apple’s iPhones will soon be assembled at another site in Karnataka, and 300 acres (120 hectares) have been aside to set up a factory, the state government said on Friday.

Currently, iPhones are assembled in India by at least three of Apple’s global suppliers – Foxconn and Pegatron in Tamil Nadu, and Wistron in Karnataka. 

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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