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Apple investigates supply chain as Wistron faces labor unrest

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Contract electronics manufacturer Wistron has experienced violence at a factory in Narasapura, India after workers levied accusations of unpaid wages and excessive working hours, Reuters reports. Apple, whose iPhone is reportedly produced at the facility has stated that the firm has “launched a detailed investigation“.

Apple has scaled up its in-market production in India recently and has been a longstanding user of contract electronics manufacturers in both India and China in its iPhone and Mac production. That’s unlikely to change given the tariff strictures resulting from the Make in India tariff policy discussed in Panjiva’s research of March 3. 

Panjiva’s data shows that Indian imports linked to Apple have increased by 18.8% year over year in Q3’20. Yet, that was driven by a post pandemic lockdown recovery in July. Shipments in September, the start of peak season for iPhone deliveries, saw shipments unchanged compared to a year earlier. A 30.3% drop in iPhone imports was offset by a 192% jump in shipments of Macintosh computers.

iPhone imports fall as local production takes over

Chart segments Indian imports linked to Apple by product on a monthly and three-month average basis.   Source: Panjiva

The expansion of imports of components to India by Wistron has increased 15.2x year over year in Q3’20 as the firm scales up production of iPhones, Panjiva’s data shows. Other importers of electronic components used in phones and PCs appear to have had a tougher time, with total Indian imports down by 5.4% year over year in Q3’20 despite a 5.0% improvement in September alone. 

The fastest rate of decline can be seen in imports linked to BBK and Hon Hai with declines of 26.2% and 21.8% year over  year respectively. Shipments linked to Samsung Electronics and Flex Electronics meanwhile both dipped in Q3’20 but both also experienced a recovery in September with improvements of 8.5% and 10.4% respectively.

Wistron scales up, still a small player in Indian electronics

Chart segments Indian imports of phone and PC components by consignee.   Source: Panjiva

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