As Apple pushes to diversify its supply chain outside China, the Cupertino company has asked its partners to move some AirPods and Beats headphone production to India. While this is a first for the country, it happens at a moment that India is already producing the new iPhone models while previously it would only make older iterations of the iPhone.
The information comes from Nikkei Asia, which reports on Apple’s move to gradually diversify its production from China “as it looks to lower the risk of supply chain disruptions stemming from the country’s strict zero-COVID policy and tensions with the US.”
People familiar with the matter told the publication that Apple is talking to a number of its suppliers about increasing production in China as early as next year.
With that, Luxshare Precision Industry, which produces AirPods in Vietnam and China, could also help Apple to make these wireless earbuds in India as well.
Nikkei highlights how AirPods were one of the earliest products from Apple to be mass produced outside of China. With more than 70 million units shipped each year, Apple has also shifted the majority of Beats production to Vietnam since 2021, according to people familiar with the matter.
The publication explains why this shift matters:
Bringing AirPods and Beats production to India would enlarge Apple’s production footprint in the country, following a recent announcement that the latest iPhone is already being made there (…) While manufacturing in India was initially aimed at serving the massive local market, Apple is now developing the country as a strategic production base, with exports intended for markets such as Europe, sources briefed on the matter said.
Apple just released its new AirPods Pro 2 last month and AirPods 3 by the end of last year. While it’s not clear when the company plans to release new AirPods Max models, it’s interesting to see the company shifting production of these wireless earbuds – alongside Beats products – to other countries.
India, on its way, is trying to emerge as a key alternative for electronics production outside China, according to Joey Yen, a tech analyst with IDC.
“India is learning from China’s success over the years, and it has a similar potential to become a very meaningful player in the global supply chain. It has young engineering talent and a big workforce, and a massive domestic market as a foundation,” Yen said.
More coverage: See the latest on the AirPods Max 2.