Apple's Indian ecosystem emerges as top job creator

The Apple ecosystem has employed more than 150,000 people directly since the start of the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for smartphones in August 2021, making it the country’s largest blue-collar job creator.

The majority of these are first-time job seekers in the 19-24 years age group, said government officials and experts aware of the details.

Apart from this, about 300,000 people have been employed indirectly, they estimated. Companies that get incentives under the PLI scheme need to submit employment creation data to the government.

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In addition to jobs created by contract manufacturers and suppliers, Apple directly employs nearly 3,000 in India, while iOS app development supports more than 1 million jobs, officials said.

Apple’s Rev-up in India

“Overall, the Apple ecosystem is likely to have created over 4 lakh jobs (directly and indirectly) in the last 32 months,” an official said. The company didn’t respond to queries.

Apple has been doubling down on India – the world’s second-largest smartphone market – amid geopolitical tensions, having also witnessed a slump in the key US and China markets.

The Cupertino-based company began manufacturing iPhones in India in 2017 and scaled up local production in tandem with the PLI scheme. Since then, it has worked with suppliers to assemble the latest iPhone models through its contract manufacturers – Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron – and also produce an increasing number of components locally.

The India unit of Wistron was acquired by Tata group last year from its Taiwanese parent.

The trio, cleared to receive sops under the PLI scheme, created over 77,000 direct jobs, with Foxconn leading at 41,000, followed by Wistron (27,300) and Pegatron (9,200), as per data available with the government.

While Foxconn and Wistron are in the third year of the PLI scheme, Pegatron is completing the second year of its operations in India.

Experts said the iPhone factories are set to hire more than 10,000 people directly in the peak June-September period, when production will swell to a full three shifts to meet global demand for the next iPhone. New models are typically launched in September.

FY24 production of iPhones exceeded Rs 1 lakh crore in February. These phones have a market value of Rs 1.6 lakh crore, depending on taxes and dealer margins.

The production figures achieved by Apple are far ahead of the targets under the PLI scheme, which made the company possibly the largest phone manufacturer in the country by value, experts said.

Apple is building a large ecosystem of Indian suppliers as well, including another Tata unit, to support the shift of a significant chunk of production from China, where the most iPhones are currently made.

The supplier ecosystem is spread across Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana.

Apart from the three contract manufacturers, over 70,000 new direct jobs have been created by this fast-growing Apple supplier ecosystem, officials added.

According to the submitted data, primary job creators among Apple suppliers include Tata Electronics, which makes enclosures for iPhones at its Hosur facility, and Salcomp Technologies, which produces enclosures and power adaptors. Apart from these, Foxlink and Sunwoda, which produce cables and batteries for iPhones, are prominent job creators.

In addition to this, several thousand new jobs have been created by Avary Technologies, CCL Industries and Flex, which are suppliers of iPhone sub-assemblies and components.

To support this growing ecosystem, Apple recently launched an educational programme focused on women’s health as part of its $50-million Supplier Employee Development Fund.

William Murphy

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