The discussions with Wistron are aimed at making Tatas a force in technology manufacturing, and the Indian salt-to-software conglomerate wants to tap the Taiwanese company’s expertise in product development, supply chain and assembly, people with knowledge of the matter said. If successful, the pact could make Tatas the first Indian company to build iPhones, which are currently mainly assembled by Taiwanese manufacturing giants like Wistron and Foxconn Technology Group in China and India.
An Indian company making iPhones would be a massive boost for the country’s effort to challenge China, whose dominance in electronics manufacturing has been jeopardised by rolling Covid lockdowns and political tensions with the US. It could also persuade other global electronics brands to consider assembly in India to reduce their reliance on China at a time of increasing geopolitical risks.
The structure of the deal and details such as shareholdings are yet to be finalised, and talks are ongoing, the people said, declining to be named as the conversations are private. The plan could entail Tatas buying equity in Wistron’s India operations or the companies could build a new assembly plant, one of the people said. They could also execute both those moves, the person said.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Apple was aware of the talks, which come at a time when the US tech giant is looking to diversify more production away from China and deepen its supply chain in India. Apple is known to work with local companies in regions where it sets up manufacturing bases — but assembling iPhones is a complicated task that entails meeting the US company’s tight deadlines and quality controls.
A Wistron representative declined to comment. Tatas and Apple didn’t respond to requests for comment.