Apple supplier resolves customs dispute on China and India border

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Foxconn moving additional iPhone production to India as coronavirus disrupts work
Tensions between China and India have been ramping up.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple contract manufacturer Foxconn has successfully resolved an issue that was stopping its component shipments from China being imported to India, amid tensions between the two nations.

Customs officials were holding shipments from China following violent incidents at the Himalayan border, which is shared by China and India. This was reportedly causing problems for Foxconn, which carries out iPhone manufacturing (among other things) in both countries.

A Reuters report published Friday notes that:

“Foxconn’s customs clearance for cargo logistics in India has been resolved and all local regulatory procedures have been complied with, Foxconn said in a filing to Taipei stock exchange. It did not elaborate.”

India and China are the world’s two most populous countries, with approximately 1.3 billion people each. Tensions between the two have been ramping up since May. Recently, the Indian Army said that at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed while fighting Chinese troops in the Galwan area of Ladakh. This is an area in the western Himalayas, which separates the two countries.

Potential impact on Apple

As with any world event, the loss of life and plenty of other factors are far more significant than any impact on Apple’s business. But tensions between the two countries still has the potential to cause significant problems for Apple. Foxconn plants in both China and India produce iPhones. According to Reuters, “more than 150 Foxconn shipments — containing smartphone and electronic parts — were stuck” at the port of Chennai.

In recent years, Apple has tried to expand its manufacturing beyond China. One of the places that has benefited has been India. While India remains a marginal market for Apple products, Apple has manufactured a growing number of iPhones there. Many of these are sold locally. But others are now being shipped elsewhere. A report in May said Apple was looking to move up to 20% of its manufacturing to India.

If tensions continue between China and India, it will absolutely have a knock-on effect for Apple manufacturing.