Apple has told India its local production targets will be hit if New Delhi follows the European Union and requires existing iPhones to have universal charging ports, a government document shows as the US tech giant lobbies for an exemption or delay.
India wants to implement a European Union rule that will require smartphones to have a universal USB-C charging port, and has been in talks with manufacturers about introducing the requirement in India by June 2025, six months after the deadline in the EU.
While all manufacturers including Samsung (005930.KS) have agreed to India’s plan, Apple is pushing back.
Apple has for years offered a unique lightning connector port on its iPhones. The EU, however, estimates a single charger solution would save about $271 million for consumers, and India has said the move will reduce e-waste and help users.
In a closed-door meeting chaired by India’s IT ministry on November 28, Apple asked officials to exempt existing iPhone models from the rules, warning it will otherwise struggle to meet production targets set under India’s production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, according to the meeting minutes seen by Reuters.
PLI is a key project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and offers electronic manufacturers in India fiscal incentives for fresh investments and incremental phone sales each year. It has been extensively used by Apple suppliers like Foxconn to expand iPhone manufacturing in the country.
“If the regulation is implemented on earlier models of mobile phones, they (Apple) will not be able to meet the PLI targets,” the minutes quoted Apple’s regulatory and product compliance executives as saying while opposing the rules.
Apple did not quantify the production impact in the meeting, and the IT ministry decided to review its request and reach a decision later, two people familiar with the discussions said.
Apple, whose India lobbying efforts are being reported for the first time, and India’s IT ministry, did not respond to Reuters requests for comment.
India is seen as Apple’s next growth frontier after China. Renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has estimated 12-14 per cent of iPhone production in 2023 will be from India.