Apple's India-specific rollouts may be delayed
Bengaluru: Apple Inc is unlikely to face delays in its global product launches despite labour issues at its contract manufacturer Wistron's Karnataka unit this month. However, according to sources, the India-specific launches may see the extension in the timeline due to uncertainty over the timing of the reopening of Wistron's Narasapura facility in Bengaluru. "Global product launches will not be delayed after the incident in Wistron's facility as Apple's other contract manufacturing units in India, Vietnam, Taiwan and China have not been affected. However, some of the products assembled in Wistron's Narasapura facility may face some delay," a person familiar with the development said.
Cupertino-based Apple Inc is planning to manufacture its latest model iPhone 12 from India. As this model is being manufactured by Apple's another contract manufacturer Foxconn, the timeline of launching it by February 2021 is expected to be met. However, the plan of manufacturing iPhone mini may face delay as the Wistron facility has been assigned with the work, sources said.
On December 12, temporary workers employed at Wistron's Narasapura facility in Bengaluru vandalised the factory premises over non-payment of regular and overtime dues by the company. According to a filing by Taiwan Stock Exchange, Wistron has pegged the extent of damages caused at its Kolar plant in the range of Rs 26-52 crore.
Post this incident, Apple has placed Taiwanese tech giant Wistron on probation as it was found that the contract manufacturer failed to implement proper working hour management processes.
It has also said that Apple will not give any new business to Wistron till labour issues are resolved. The tech giant also hired auditors to investigate the matter.
On the reopening of the Wistron facility, a spokesperson of Apple's India unit said that it would depend on the contract manufacturer. "We have nothing more to add," said the spokesperson.
The incident has come at a time when Foxconn, one of the three contract manufacturers of iPhones, is planning to invest more to expand its factory in Tamil Nadu. "India has announced the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for boosting manufacturing in India. Such incidents can potentially dent India's image when the country is trying to attract global giants to set up units here," said Pareekh Jain, an IT outsourcing advisor, and Founder of Pareekh Consulting. "The incidents also indicate that many issues- may be related to labour laws or contract rules- have to be dealt with for making India a manufacturing hub," he added. In November this year, the central government has announced PLI scheme to boost domestic manufacturing and lower the country's dependence on imports. For Apple products, in particular, imports duty of 25 per cent will not be levied for products manufactured from India.