India iPhone factory closed due to rioting could restart production soon

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Foxconn moving additional iPhone production to India as coronavirus disrupts work
Factory was closed at the end of last year due to rioting over unpaid wages.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple supplier Wistron said Tuesday that it is currently looking to restart iPhone production at its factory in Karnataka, India. The factory was shuttered at the end of 2020 after riots broke out.

However, Apple notes that the company is still on probation — and that it will be keeping a close eye on it going forwards.

Apple expanding iPhone, iPad, Mac manufacturing outside China

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Apple's relationship with Foxconn on the rocks
Tim Cook meeting a worker on the iPhone production line.
Photo: Apple

For years, China has been Apple’s biggest manufacturing hub for building its devices. But that’s now changing, with a report Wednesday claiming that Apple is “ramping up” production of iPhones, iPads, Macs, and other products in other parts of the world.

This is an attempt by Apple to diversify manufacturing beyond China, following trade tensions between the U.S. and China in recent years.

iPhone reportedly just enjoyed its best ever quarter in India

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iPhone 12 Pro parts cost shockingly little
Apple's iPhone market share doubled in India in the last quarter.
Photo: Cult of Mac

With its population of more than 1.3 billion people, India is the only country on Earth with a population that rivals China’s. (By comparison, the United States’ is a paltry 328 million.) It’s no wonder, then, that Apple has been hungrily eying the market for quite some time.

To date, success has been a bit disappointing, however. That may be changing, though, with a new report claiming that Apple doubled its market share in India during the last quarter, based on research from Counterpoint and CyberMedia.

Apple puts iPhone manufacturer on probation following labor violations

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iPhone sales are showing signs of life in India
Wistron was the first iPhone manufacturer to start building handsets in India.
Photo: Apple

Apple has temporarily stopped working with Wistron, the iPhone supplier that this month had riots break out at its Indian factory due to alleged mistreatment of employees.

In a statement, Apple said that it has put the manufacturer on probation. It will not receive new Apple business until it has carried out corrective actions.

Government cites labor violations at iPhone factory where riot broke out

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Foxconn moving additional iPhone production to India as coronavirus disrupts work
A riot broke at factory in India last weekend.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

The state government in Karnataka, India found multiple labor law violations at the iPhone factory where workers rioted last weekend, a new report claims.

The riot took place at a Wistron factory. It resulted in $7 million of damage, with thousands of iPhones stolen during the protest. The government report — from the Department of Factories, Boilers, Industrial Safety and Health — says that underpayment of wages, poor factory conditions, and irregular hours were all common at the plant.

Thousands of iPhones looted in riots at Wistron factory in India

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Apple supplier is increasing its ability to build masses of iPhones in India
India has been an increasingly big part of
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Riots broke out over the weekend at a Wistron factory in southern India that produces iPhones, resulting in around 100 people being arrested. Thousands of iPhones were stolen during the incident.

The riots were reportedly related to allegations about unpaid wages and other exploitation. Workers were allegedly not paid for several months, and made to do mandatory overtime. Protestors broke windows at the factory on the outskirts of Bangalore, pulled down CCTV cameras, and flipped cars onto their sides.

Despite strong iPhone 12 preorders in India, Apple remains a bit player

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The iPhone 12 mini and iPhone 12 price is now the same for all the top US telecoms.
Despite no 5G, the iPhone 12 is selling well in India.
Photo: Apple

Preorders for the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro are “super high” in India, largely thanks to authorized resellers offering good trade-in deals and monthly installment payments, according to a report published Wednesday.

Apple doesn’t reveal iPhone sales figures anymore. That means Apple watchers must be on the lookout for other early signs to indicate how well new iPhones are doing. In India, at least, that appears to be pretty darn well for iPhone 12.