Corning to make front-cover glass for handsets in Tamil Nadu

Jingyue Hsiao, DIGITIMES Asia, Taipei 0

Credit: AFP

Corning and its Indian manufacturing partner signed an MoU with the government of Tamil Nadu to set up a plant, reportedly for making iPhone cover glass, marking another Apple supplier to invest in the southern Indian state.

According to Reuters, the Economic Times, and the Deccan Herald, the Tamil Nadu government signed an MoU with Bharat Innovative Glass Technologies, a joint venture formed by US-based Corning and India-based Optiemus, with the latter planning to invest INR10 billion (US$120.4 million) to set up a manufacturing facility at the SIPCOT Industrial Park in Pillaipakkam near Chennai.

According to a joint statement, the company plans to manufacture front-cover glass with extensive processes in India and supply to display panel makers and mobile manufacturers in India, adding value and employment and bringing in precision glass-processing technology for the first time in the country.

The Deccan Herald quoted sources saying the factory may make front-cover glasses for handsets, including iPhones. The plant is expected to hire 840 employees, and sources told the Economic Times that the plant may be expanded to meet rising demands. Corning's facility may complement Apple's plan to ramp up iPhone manufacturing in India, which accounted for about 10% of global iPhone production.

Initially, Corning was discussing its investment with the government of Telangana. However, according to a previous report by the Economic Times, an unnamed source said that Corning picked Tamil Nadu rather than Telangana because of the established electronics ecosystem and the proximity to other Apple suppliers. Apple's supplier list for 2022 shows that seven of 14 suppliers in India have manufacturing facilities in Tamil Nadu, including Flex, Foxconn, On Semiconductor, Pegatron, and Zhen Ding Technology.

At an investor event held in Tamil Nadu in mid-January, Pegatron signed an MoU with the state government, planning to invest INR10 billion to build a second factory in the state. Tata Electronics, which has been ramping up investments after acquiring Wistron's Indian assets, committed to invest INR120.8 billion to assemble handsets in Tamil Nadu.