Apple, Foxconn reportedly lobbied for relaxed labor laws in India

The state of Karnataka in southern India recently relaxed its labor laws, and it is reported that Apple and its manufacturing Foxconn were lobbying behind the scenes, according to DigiTimes Asia, quoting info from the Deccan Herald and The Financial Times

The Karnataka assembly on March 1 passed a labor law that permits 12-hour-shift production and allows women to work at night. The labor code change increased a worker’s legitimate working hours from nine to 12 for four consecutive days before taking three days off. 

Allowable overtime hours were increased from 75 to 145 over a three-month period. In addition, the law allows women to work between 7 pm and 6 am, subject to certain safety measures.

Yesterday it was reported that Apple is reshuffling management of its international businesses to put a bigger focus on India, according to Bloomberg News. This shift will result in India becoming its own sales region at Apple, the report said.

The article says the tech giant is promoting its head of India Ashish Chowdhary to replace the recently retired Hugues Asseman, who was in charge of India, the Middle East, Mediterranean, East Europe and Africa, according to the report. Chowdhary will now report directly to Michael Fenger, Apple’s head of product sales, according to Bloomberg.

Apparently, Apple wants India to account for up to 25% of its production, increasing from about 5%-7% currently, the trade minister said in January, reported Reuters (a subscription is required to read the entire article).

Shri Piyush Goyal, India’s minister of commerce and industry, didn’t specify what devices he expects Apple to produce in the country. However, his comments fit with a previous report that Apple is likely to triple its production of iPhones assembled in India over the next two year, according to Mint.

The article quoted an unnamed “senior industry executive as saying: ”[Apple is] looking to scale up the volumes that they make from India. It can rise by more than three times what they aim to make this year.” Mint also cites a second executive who said Apple has instructed Foxconn, Pegatron, and Wistron, three of its biggest suppliers, to increase their capacity and manpower in the country.

Speaking of Foxconn, Apple’s biggest contractor has invested US$500 million in its Indian subsidiary, as the Taiwanese manufacturing giant moves ahead to diversify its supply chain after China’s stringent pandemic controls disrupted production at its top iPhone plant in the central city of Zhengzhou, reports The South China Morning Post.

The article notes that the cash injection into Foxconn Hon Hai Technology India Mega Development Private Limited, made through Foxconn’s Singapore unit Foxconn Singapore Pte Ltd, involved the purchase of over 4 billion shares, according to a filing on Thursday to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

In November 2022 Reuters reported that Foxconn plans to quadruple the workforce at its iPhone factory in India over two years. The article said this points to “a production adjustment as it faces disruptions in China.”

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.