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iPhone production in India gets back on track as government relents

(Image credit: Future)

The rigorous customs clearance processes rolled out following India's border skirmish with China adversely affected production of iPhones in India for more than a week. Foxconn, one of Apple's contract manufacturers, now confirms that delays in  customs clearances for components have eased and production has normalized. 

In a statement, the Taiwanese contract manufacturer has said the federal government has relaxed some of the conditions for clearing consignments from China. As a result Foxconn's two factories that were at a standstill for over a week, have resumed normal production of the iPhones. 

Foxconn India production resumes

(Image credit: Foxconn India)

Tightening of customs regulations

India put in place stringent customs clearance procedures for consignments from China following an escalation of its long-standing border dispute with that country. Though both countries are engaged in diplomatic and ground-level negotiations, the federal government brought in extra regulations for Chinese imports while also banning the use of 50 mobile apps within India. 

The decision led to Foxconn facing delays in receipt of iPhone parts as consignments were held up at the Indian customs. Sources said Foxconn had as many as 150 of its consignments containing electronic parts from China stuck at Chennai port. The company operates two units in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh where it assembles smartphones for Apple and Xiaomi. 

All's well no for Apple in India

On Friday, the federal government had exempted foreign companies such as Apple from its stringent customs verification processes. Officials confirmed to us from Delhi that further shipments from Apple would face no delays over customs clearances following discussions with officials of Foxconn and Apple in India. 

Meanwhile, a report in 9to5Mac.com quoted filings from the Taipei stock exchange said Foxconn had reported that customs clearances of cargo logistics in India had been resolved and all regulatory procedures had been complied with. 

These reports would go a long way in assuaging doubts at the Apple headquarters, given that there were several reports of the company considering a major increase in iPhone production capabilities in India.  These were part of their efforts to reduce reliance on China, with the reports first emerging in January when the Covid-19 virus spread forcing Apple to shut down their manufacturing plants in China. 

A couple of months into the pandemic, there were reports in the Indian media that Apple was indeed looking to shift a substantial part of its production over to the country. It was also reported that Indian officials were holding talks with Apple to convince them of the changed investment climate in the country under the 'Make in India' program.