The Information has published a detailed look into the challenges that Apple has faced in expanding its manufacturing operations in India, including strict labor laws, unsatisfactory health and safety standards, and protectionist trade policies that have resulted in rising tariffs on smartphone components.
An excerpt from the paywalled report:
For example, one Indian supplier Apple approached in 2018 was Superpacks, which operated a packaging factory in Bangalore. Apple sent auditors to assess whether its supplier responsibility practices were up to Apple’s standards. The audits revealed dozens of violations. The site had no safety measures for storing chemicals, lacked monitoring for noise and wastewater, and didn’t have several environmental and construction permits. It didn’t properly test drinking water for workers and the site lacked a fire hydrant system, according to a person close to Apple.
Apple spent months pushing Superpacks to fix the violations. However, the Indian company stopped giving updates and missed deadlines for fixes. Apple ultimately didn’t give it a business contract. Superpacks didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Apple has reached agreements with some suppliers in India, such as Wistron, which assembles the iPhone 7 in the country. However, the majority of Apple’s manufacturing remains in China, with recent issues such as the U.S.-China trade war and the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak emphasizing the need for diversification.As the report notes, India recently relaxed rules on local sourcing of components, paving the way for Apple to open an online store in India later this year and its first retail store in the country by next year.
Full Article: Inside Apple’s Search for an Indian Supply Chain by The Information