Apple resists India's push for universal charging, citing production targets

  • Industry News
  • Dec 06,23
The US tech giant is actively seeking an exemption or postponement while engaging in discussions with Indian authorities.
Apple resists India's push for universal charging, citing production targets

Apple has informed India that achieving its local production goals may be jeopardized if New Delhi adopts the European Union's stance and mandates universal charging ports for existing iPhones, as revealed in a government document. The US tech giant is actively seeking an exemption or postponement while engaging in discussions with Indian authorities.

India aims to enforce a European Union rule requiring smartphones to feature a universal USB-C charging port. Talks with manufacturers have been underway to implement this requirement in the country by June 2025, aligning with the EU's deadline, but Apple is resisting the move. While other manufacturers, including Samsung, have agreed to comply, Apple is requesting special consideration.

For years, Apple has utilised its distinctive lightning connector port on iPhones. The EU anticipates substantial consumer savings of approximately $271 million with a standardised charging solution, and India emphasises the environmental benefits of reducing e-waste.

During a closed-door meeting on November 28 chaired by India's IT ministry, Apple appealed for existing iPhone models to be exempt from the regulations. Apple cautioned that failure to do so would hinder its ability to meet production targets outlined in India's production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, a crucial initiative for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The PLI scheme provides fiscal incentives for electronic manufacturers in India, and Apple suppliers like Foxconn have leveraged it for expanding iPhone production in the country.

In the meeting, Apple's regulatory and product compliance executives argued against the rules, stating, "If the regulation is implemented on earlier models of mobile phones, they (Apple) will not be able to meet the PLI targets." Although Apple did not quantify the production impact, the IT ministry decided to review the request and make a decision later.

Notably, renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo estimated that 12-14% of iPhone production in 2023 would originate from India, with expectations of reaching up to 25% next year. Apple currently holds a 6% market share in India's thriving smartphone market, compared to 2% four years ago. While Apple suppliers manufacture most iPhone 12, 13, 14, and 15 models in India for local and export sales, only the iPhone 15 features the new universal charging port.

Apple informed Indian officials that the "design of the earlier products cannot be changed," and consumers in India's price-sensitive market often prefer older iPhone models. The push for a common charger on these older models could potentially impact Apple's targets, according to Prabhu Ram, head of the Industry Intelligence Group at CyberMedia Research.

The EU's charging port rules are set to take effect in December 2024, and India aims for compliance by June 2025. Apple assured officials that it can meet this timeline if existing models are exempted from the rules but indicated a need for an additional 18 months beyond 2024 if no exemption is granted. Apple and India's IT ministry have not responded to Reuters' requests for comment on the matter.

Source: Mint

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