China is extremely valuable to the world economy as it’s the manufacturing powerhouse of the globe’s consumer products. It was no secret that Apple used Chinese manufacturing for most, if not all, of its products. Many have been calling for the company to step away from production in China and invest in US operations instead. Apple, always looking for the most cost-effective option to maximize profit, has been under fire recently for multiple issues. This backlash prompted Apple to seek other options for its manufacturing operations.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how Apple plans to triple production in India and how that may affect consumers, read on below.
- What Is the Apple China Controversy?
- iPhone 14 Demand Low: Apple to Drop Plans to Increase Production
- You Might Have to Wait Longer for Your iPhone 14 This Christmas
- iPhone Workers Quit En-Masse: What Does it Mean?
Background Context: Why Will Apple Triple Production in India?
Reports came out that Apple will triple production in India. Here are a few reasons that may have inspired this decision:
AirDrop Censorship in China
There have been multiple protests in China due to strict COVID policies, where the government would shut down entire districts if it had a growth in COVID-19 cases. One might wonder why Apple may be experiencing backlash due to a country-specific issue. There have been reports from individuals involved in the protests that claim Apple is actively blocking AirDrop in China, which is a crucial way protestors can communicate with each other by sharing images. There seems to be truth to these claims, as Apple is removing any sort of restrictions with AirDrop in iOS 16.2.
Apple has been receiving a lot of backlash concerning its operations in China, from mass resignations in its Foxconn factories leading to a decrease in iPhone 14 production, so its plans to triple production in India might be a response to an accumulation of criticism.
China-US Economic Tensions
China and US have been in the midst of a trade war for quite a few years now. Although there didn’t seem to be many tangible effects as a result, we might finally be seeing some changes to how the world interacts with the globe’s manufacturing powerhouse. There have been significant calls for US tech companies to produce more in the US or invest in infrastructure elsewhere in the world. US labor is expensive compared to China, which is the main reason why many companies continue to do business with the country.
Despite cheap labor, many might agree that the negative connotations related to being associated with the Chinese Communist Party (at least in the West) are not worth the cheaper labor costs. The economic tensions between the two countries are complex and multifaceted, but it’s no secret that Apple is investing heavily in other countries like Vietnam, India, and US operations.
Forced Uyghur Labor Reports
The Chinese government’s relationship with its Uyghur population is complex, but many satellite images highlight how there are labor camps, “education centers”, and prisons exclusively for the Uyghur population. There are claims that state some factories that Apple use for production involves Uyghur labor, however, there is no concrete evidence behind these reports.
Despite the lack of evidence, any association with forced labor (basically slavery) is a huge issue for Apple’s public reputation. For example, Nike has long been associated with child labor due to bombshell reports many years ago that proved the company used child labor and slavery to produce its shoes cheaply. Any news of Apple using forced labor would be a huge win for its competitors and would greatly hamper the company’s general public standing.
What Does That Mean for Consumers?
Apple consumers may, unfortunately, experience a slightly higher cost for certain products as the company looks to invest heavily in its Indian production and operations. Since China has much of the infrastructure to produce Apple products already in place, the company can charge lower costs (assuming it doesn’t charge exorbitant costs for more profit). That might not be the case if Apple looks to rely more on India.
Although it’s safe to say that Apple understands that if it were to raise prices significantly that there would be a general sense of unrest among its consumer base. So we can assume that as Apple looks to transition out of China and look elsewhere that there won’t be much of an impact on us as consumers.