A U.S.-based Apple supplier has begun fabricating components for AirPods in India, a significant stride in the tech giant's efforts to extend production in the country, according to Bloomberg.
The Indian branch of Florida-based electronics manufacturer Jabil has apparently started delivering plastic AirPods cases to China and Vietnam, making the earbuds the second Apple product after iPhones to be created in India.
This is part of Apple's plan to lower its production reliance on China, where lockdown disruptions and US trade restrictions have made fabrication more hazardous.
Jabil's Facility in Pune
As per Jabil's website, the company operates an 858,000-square-foot (80,000 square meters) facility employing more than 2,500 workers in Pune, western India.
Indian Government Permission
On the other hand, Apple's China-based suppliers still expect the Indian government's permission to start manufacturing there, with The Economic Times reporting that 14 Chinese companies have only obtained initial clearance so far.
This hastiness to gain approval follows news that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government is preparing to offer financial incentives to companies that produce wireless earphones and smartwatches domestically.
Apple's Plan for India
According to Bloomberg's sources, Apple aims to triple its iPhone production capacity in India within the next two years. Shipment of India-made iPhones to Europe and the Middle East is projected to reach $2.5 billion by March 2023, almost doubling the $1.3 billion worth of iPhones the country exported in the year through March 2022.
The news outlet reported last year that it would take approximately eight years to shift just 10% of Apple's production capacity out of China, where around 98% of iPhones are still made.