TAIPEI: Taiwanese contract manufacturer Foxconn has won an order to make AirPods for Apple Inc and plans to build a factory in the Indian state of Telangana to produce the wireless earphones, two people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The deal will see Foxc-onn, the world’s largest contract electronics maker and assembler of around 70 per cent of all iPhones, become an AirPod supplier for the first time and underlines efforts by the key Apple supplier to further diversify production away from China. AirPods are currently made by a range of Chinese suppliers.
One source said Foxconn will invest more than $200 million in the new India AirPod plant in Telangana.
The decision to set up production in India was requested by Apple, according to the source.
A second person with direct knowledge of the matter, who also declined to be identified as the matter was not yet public, said the Foxconn subsidiary will make AirPods in India without providing further details.
Foxconn vies with Taiwanese rivals such as Wist-ron Corp and Pegatron Corp to win more orders from Apple, the world’s most valuable company.
A subsidiary, Foxconn Interconnect Technology, plans to start construction of a manufacturing facility in Telangana in the second half of this year and begin production by the end of 2024 at the earliest, the person said.
The government of Telangana had announced Foxconn’s intent to set up a manufacturing plant in the state on March 2, a day after a meeting between Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao and Fox-conn chairman Young Liu earlier in the day.
The deal, according to the state government, has the potential to generate employment for over one lakh people over 10 years.
Foxconn already has operations in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, where it manufactures products for companies such as Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc.
Analysts have previously said Apple has asked suppliers including Foxc-onn to make AirPods in India, but details such as the size of investment, timeline and which suppliers have manufacturing plans in India have not been disclosed.