Apple will manufacture iPhones at a new plant in India, officials said on Friday, as the US tech giant seeks to ramp up its India production and diversify away from China.

The flagship mobile’s global supply chain is based mainly in China, where strict Covid policies last year and ongoing diplomatic tensions with the United States have hurt production.

“Apple phones to be built in the state soon,” Karnataka state chief minister Basavaraj S Bommai tweeted on Friday.

“Apart from creating about 100,000 jobs, it will create a whole lot of opportunities for Karnataka,” he added.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India’s minister of state for information technology, said the proposed factory will be spread over 300 acres in the state, home to India’s tech hub Bengaluru.

The announcement came as Foxconn chairman Young Liu visited that city on Friday, according to local media, following a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this week.

“Our discussions covered various topics aimed at enhancing India’s tech and innovation eco-system,” Modi tweeted on Wednesday.

Liu signed an agreement on Thursday to set up electronics manufacturing facilities that would employ 100,000 in the neighbouring southern state of Telangana.

Apple and Foxconn did not respond to AFP requests for comment.

Foxconn, the world’s top iPhone assembler, has since 2019 manufactured Apple handsets in India at its plant in the southern state of Tamil Nadu.

Two other Taiwanese suppliers, Wistron and Pegatron, also manufacture and assemble Apple devices in India.

Apple said last September it would manufacture its latest iPhone 14 in India, just weeks after launching the flagship model.

But the country accounts for less than five per cent of Apple’s global production, according to Bloomberg, lagging behind the United States, China, Japan, and five other countries.

Apple’s expanding manufacturing in India is a boost to Modi’s “Make in India” strategy under which he has urged foreign businesses to manufacture goods in the South Asian nation.

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