Wistron exits iPhone business in India reportedly due to low profit and work culture

Jingyue Hsiao, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: AFP

Wistron is looking to sell its iPhone manufacturing business in India to Tata. People familiar with the matter said that the profit generated from iPhone assembling has been too low, and Wistron's management practices differ from India's local cultural and social norms.

According to The Economic Times, although Wistron, one of the Taiwan-based iPhone assemblers, is still talking with Tata for its iPhone manufacturing business in India, some senior management members have left Wistron, with some Tata executives taking up key positions at Wistron's facility.

According to the report, being a smaller iPhone manufacturer than Foxconn and Pegatron, Wistron cannot get into the more lucrative layers in the Apple supply chain, such as inventory management, leaving Wistron with a low margin in the iPhone manufacturing business.

Additionally, according to the report, local workers complained about Wistron's lack of awareness of local work culture, in which Indian laborers prefer a more balanced life instead of working around the clock like many Chinese and Taiwanese employees in India.

Wistron sold its Kunshun facility to Luxshare in 2020, and it is not bad for Wistron to re-focus and re-adjust its business across its group. DIGITIMES reported that the smartphone demand is plateauing, with Samsung Electronics preferring South Korean-based suppliers and China-based brands favoring Chinese suppliers. Although Apple provides stable orders for Taiwan-based suppliers, rising geopolitical tensions, de-risking of the Chinese and American supply chains, as well as diversified production, bring about uncertainties.

According to the Bureau of Indian Standards, Wistron's Kolar facility makes iPhone SE, iPhone 12, and iPhone 14. Tata, which is talking with Wistron about taking over the plant, is reportedly receiving 5% of orders of iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro, according to Trendforce.

Still, an earlier The Economic Times reported that due to the lack of a developed iPhone manufacturing ecosystem, iPhone and iPhone parts have to be shipped across the Indian borders several times for Tata to assemble before sending back to China for final assembly. Piyush Goyal, India's trade and industry minister, said earlier in the year that Apple is looking to make 25% of iPhones in India.