Wistron plans to expand production in India: sources

2018/02/03 16:13:14 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
From Apple Inc.'s website

From Apple Inc.'s website

Taipei, Feb. 3 (CNA) Taiwanese contract electronics maker Wistron Corp. is planning to build new factory in India to expand its production capacity there over the next five years, according to sources familiar with the investment deal.

In the first stage, Wistron will invest some US$160 million to build a plant in Bangalore, a tech city in the southern state of Karnataka, to assemble the iPhone 6 and other international smartphones brands and gadgets, the sources told CNA on Friday.

Wistron's CEO Robert Huang (黃柏漙) visited India late last year to discuss the plan with Karnataka officials, the sources said.

The company, which already has production facilities in Bangalore, is looking for about 40.5 hectares (100 acres) of land to build the new facility and has already committed to an investment of US$160 million, the sources said.

One of three Taiwanese companies that assemble iPhones for Apple Inc., Wistron reportedly makes the 4-inch iPhone SE model. The other two companies, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. and Pegatron Corp., produce the larger iPhone models.

The new Wistron plant in India will not only assemble iPhones and other smartphones, but also tablet computers, notebook computers and LCD TVs for international and Indian brands, the sources said.

Since the middle of last year, Wistron has been shipping iPhone SEs to the Indian market and Apple now wants it to assemble the iPhone 6, according to the sources.

Following its latest move, Wistron will extend its reach beyond Karnataka to other Indian states in the future, the sources said.

Under Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India" initiative, import tariffs on smartphones, smartphone components, TVs and other tech gadgets will increase in India from April, which is expected to spur foreign manufacturers to set up production lines there to lower operating costs.

With further hikes of import tariffs expected later down the road, the sources said, Wistron is moving to manufacture it clients' products there.

In an interview with CNA in December, Huang said the company was planning to make India one of its major global production bases.

Currently, Apple has a 3 percent share of the fast growing smartphone market in India, the sources said.

Headquartered in Taiwan, Wistron currently has production sites in India, China, Mexico and the United States, according to its website.

(By Charles Kang and Frances Huang)
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