Apple partner Wistron to make fresh investments in India

Image courtesy Wistron

Apple’s partner Wistron will be making an additional investment of Rs 900 crore ($121.62 million) at its facility in India’s Southern state, Karnataka, to venture into new areas like Internet of Things (IoT) products, biotech devices and consumer durables.

Wistron is constructing a large manufacturing block and an IT building under the phase 2 expansion, having recently set up a big warehouse in Hoskote in Bengaluru.

“There is a considerable increase in the investment compared to the initial sanctioned size. Wistron has now committed to investing an additional 50% over and above what was planned earlier, and it will create more employment opportunities,” Gaurav Gupta, principal secretary, commerce and industries, told India media on Thursday.

The company has been allocated 43 acres of land for the project and has been granted a slew of incentives and concessions. It has already utilized about half of the plot allocated, Gupta revealed.

The fresh investment by the Taiwanese contract manufacturing company will generate 8,000 jobs. It had previously announced Rs 1,947 crore ($263.11 million) investments in India with a plan to hire 10,000 direct and indirect employees.

It is however unclear if the expansion is being done to locally manufacture Apple products like smartwatches (Apple Watch) and tablets (iPad).

In August this year, the Taiwanese contract manufacturing company started assembling iPhone SE smartphone 2020 edition at the facility in Narasapura, about 70 km from the country’s Silicon Valley, Bengaluru. It is now making investments to increase capacity for other iPhone models.

Wistron also has another iPhone assembling facility in Peenya in Bengaluru.

Industry watchers believe that Bengaluru is becoming a strategic location for electronics manufacturing services (EMS) providers as it provides easy access to talent in the technology sector.

Increasing presence of Wistron in Karnataka will now attract new component suppliers that will support Apple and other companies in the region, they said.

Apple also has its iOS App Design & Development Accelerator in Bengaluru.

Wistron is one of the three Apple suppliers that are planning to invest over $1 billion under the Production Linked Incentive or PLI scheme introduced by the Indian government.

India’s telecom and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad recently revealed that nine Apple partners entered during the pandemic to help the iPhone maker, which is trying to shift smartphone production away from China and reduce its dependence on the country.

In addition to Karnataka, Apple’s partners are also developing a complete ecosystem in Tamil Nadu.

Foxconn, which has a factory in the state nearby Chennai, will invest up to $1 billion in India to expand its factory in Tamil Nadu to make newer iPhone models. It already makes the iPhone XR.

Apple’s cable and connector supplier, Cheng Uei Precision Industry Co, will soon begin mass production in Tamil Nadu. Salcom, which is a major supplier of chargers to Apple, has taken over the closed facility of Nokia in a SEZ near Chennai and plans to invest Rs 2,000 crore ($270.27 million) over the next 5 years.

Apple’s second-largest contract manufacturer, Pegatron, has also started work to set up a manufacturing facility in India having received approval from its board to invest $150 million. It is expected to set up its facility in Tamil Nadu with a target to start production by late 2021.

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