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India eyes the concept of worker dormitories to thwart Apple’s tech pivot from China 


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India eyes the concept of worker dormitories to thwart Apple’s tech pivot from China 

Why is Apple moving production to India?

It cost Apple an estimated $1 billion per week. Since then, Apple has reportedly told its manufacturing partners that it wants to do more business outside of China. Apple’s main supplier, the Taiwan based Foxconn has been moving more of its production out of China into India.


India is looked as a future manufacturing hub

Many Western manufacturers are increasingly uncomfortable with their heavy reliance on China—especially after its uncompromising and unpredictable approach to public health over the past year. Violent protests at Apple supplier Foxconn ‘s Zhengzhou factory in November further highlighted the risks of an overly concentrated supply chain.

India, on the other hand, is slated to play a larger role—at least for Apple. Despite its creaky infrastructure and still-frustrating bureaucracy, India’s substantial domestic market and newly robust government support for electronics manufacturing make it well placed to take advantage of a “China plus one” manufacturing strategy.


India’s only concern will be to get enough workers in the right place

India’s appeal to the likes of Apple as a “China plus one” manufacturing hub may depend on how the country and foreign investors resolve one glaring issue: how and where to get enough workers in the right place.


In India, the concept of a dormitory bed will soon become inevitable

In China, hundreds of millions of migrant workers played a crucial role in the country’s rise as the “workshop of the world”. Executives hoping India will emerge as a parallel manufacturing centre as geopolitical tensions rise are waiting to see whether its workers will prove equally willing to leave their homes and families for a job that includes spending long periods with a dormitory bed as their only private space.


When we started manufacturing in the Chinese city of Shenzhen, all workers came from far away, so there was the necessity to build accommodation for them from the very start,” said a person close to Foxconn, the biggest manufacturer of Apple’s iPhone, which has said its manufacturing ambitions for India extend to new products such as electric cars.

“In India, the main model so far was bringing workers from their hometowns with shuttle buses, but as things get scaled up that is just not sustainable.” Foxconn declined to comment.

The issue of worker accommodation is of special urgency because of the role women play in the electronics industry. They account for the bulk of the workforce in electronics in longer-established manufacturing hubs such as China and Vietnam, where workers’ dormitories are a central part of companies’ focus, alongside regulatory issues such as trade tariffs and labour law.

India has fewer women in factory work than most other Asian countries because of safety issues around commuting and social stigmatisation of women’s work, making the issue of worker accommodation particularly pressing.

As the likes of Apple and Foxconn shift more production to southern India, companies and local officials are making plans for dormitories that between them will accommodate tens of thousands of beds.

In Tamil Nadu, a hub of India’s electronics industry where Foxconn has its main factory assembling iPhones for Apple, a government agency is building multiple blocks to accommodate about 18,000 women, local officials told the Financial Times.

In Karnataka, home to India’s IT capital Bengaluru, where Foxconn has broken ground on another plant, the state has formulated a draft policy to support and build dormitories. 

In Telangana, one of India’s most business-friendly states, the local government allows investors to devote 20 per cent of the land where they are building factories to dormitories, sparing them the cost of acquiring additional property.

Executives at Foxconn and Taiwan’s other contract manufacturers have repeatedly said it would be impossible to replicate in India or Vietnam the mass production structures they built in China, mainly because workers there are much less willing to leave their families and live in dormitories.

“Generally, people in India expect to commute to work from their homes and, when their shift is over, go home and have dinner with their family,” said an executive at Pegatron, another iPhone supplier. “That limits the scale of any single factory to a few tens of thousands.”


Proprietary blog of Karma Global

Collated and Compiled by the internal staff of Karma Global with the knowledge and expertise that they possess, besides adaptation, illustration, derivation, transformation, collection and auto generation for its monthly newsletter Issue 19 of January 2024 and in case of specific or general information or compliance updates for that matter, kindly reach out to the Marketing Team – /



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