China is still responsible for the lion’s share of Apple’s iPhone production and it will likely remain that way for the near future. However, there are moves being made to shift at least some iPhone production to other countries, such as Apple’s recently moving some of the assembly of its iPhone 14 to Brazil.
Brazilian blog MacMagazine recently reported that one of its readers purchased a blue 128GB Phone in Brazil and was a bit surprised to see an “Assembled in Brazil” mention on the box. The device had been assembled by Foxconn Brazil, which is located in São Paulo. The device’s Part Number ended with “BR/A,” which indicates that the iPhone was assembled in the country. (iPhones sold in Brazil and made in China carry part numbers ending in “BZ/A” or “BE/A.”)
At this point in time, the Brazil plant is only assembling the base iPhone 14, as no Pro or Plus models have been found with the “BR/A” identifier.
In addition to the iPhone 14, Apple has previously assembled both the iPhone 13 and iPhone SE models. Local Brazilian assembly is good for both Apple and its customers, as it helps keep prices down.
Brazil imposes stiff taxes on imported goods, including just about every device Apple makes. By producing the iPhone 14 in Brazil, the company scores a reduction in taxes to sell those products. That means while the 128GB iPhone 14 costs R$7,599 ($1,520) in Brazil, customers can now find the same iPhone available for around R$5,000 ($1,000) in local retail stores.
Assembling iPhones in Brazil also has other benefits for Apple. The company is in the process of reducing its dependence on Chinese assembly operations, due to China’s strict COVID policies, as well as political disputes involving Apple’s Chinese suppliers.
Apple is hoping that this year, iPhone 15 assembly will begin in China and India simultaneously.
Wistron Winding Down Indian iPhone Assembly Operations
Meanwhile, Hindu BusinessLine reports that its sources tell it that Wistron, Apple’s iPhone SE assembly partner is preparing to wind down most of its India-based manufacturing, looking to withdraw from the country over the next year. Wistron has been in India for over 15 years in its role as an Apple assembly partner, but the Taiwanese company is moving on.
The publication says its sources tell it that Wistron will be mostly pulling out of India, and is expected to approach the National Company Law Tribunal and the Registrar of Companies to dissolve its operations within a year.
Tat Electronics is said to be readying to take control of the Wistron Karnataka iPhone production facility, which is Wistron’s main Indian operation facility.
Operations of Wistron’s iPhone factory in the country have proven to be problematic for the Apple assembly partner, as a few years ago employees rioted over having their pay shorted. The incident resulted in Apple’s placing Wistron on probation.
Sources say that once Tat Electronics has taken over iPhone assembly operations Wistron will begin the process of pulling out of the country. Before shutting down completely, Wistron is expected to wait for more Mobile PLI subsidy payments from the scheme set up by the government to encourage production.
Happily for Wistron’s India employees at the plant, the majority of Wistron’s employees will continue to work for Tata. Wistron currently employs more than 12,000 people in India.