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Apple cautions that India’s regulations mandating chargers similar to those in the EU will impact the country’s local production goals

Apple has conveyed to the Indian government that its local production targets could be adversely affected if India adopts regulations similar to those in the European Union (EU), which mandate universal charging ports for existing iPhones. A document from the government reveals Apple’s lobbying efforts for an exemption or delay in implementing these regulations.

India is considering the adoption of a European Union rule that would necessitate smartphones, including iPhones, to feature a universal USB-C charging port. Discussions with manufacturers have been ongoing, with the proposal aiming for implementation in India by June 2025—six months after the EU deadline. While other manufacturers, such as Samsung, have agreed to comply with India’s plan, Apple is resisting.

For years, Apple has utilized a unique lightning connector port for its iPhones. The EU contends that a standardized charger would result in significant cost savings for consumers, estimated at around $271 million. India supports the move, citing benefits such as a reduction in e-waste and improved user convenience.

In a closed-door meeting on November 28 chaired by India’s IT ministry, Apple urged officials to exempt existing iPhone models from the proposed regulations. Apple warned that without this exemption, it would face challenges in meeting production targets established under India’s production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme, a key initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The PLI scheme offers fiscal incentives to electronic manufacturers in India, encouraging fresh investments and incremental phone sales each year. Apple suppliers, including Foxconn, have extensively utilized the PLI scheme to expand iPhone manufacturing in the country.



Exclusive-Apple warns India's EU-style charger rules will hit local  production target
Exclusive-Apple warns India’s EU-style charger rules will hit local production target

According to meeting minutes seen by Reuters, Apple’s regulatory and product compliance executives expressed concern that implementing the regulations on earlier iPhone models would hinder the company’s ability to meet PLI targets. While Apple did not quantify the potential production impact during the meeting, the IT ministry decided to review the request and make a decision later.

India, viewed as Apple’s next growth frontier after China, is becoming increasingly important for the tech giant. Renowned Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo estimates that 12-14% of iPhone production in 2023 will be from India, with this figure expected to rise to as much as 25% next year. In terms of market share, Apple now holds 6% of India’s smartphone market, up from about 2% four years ago. Apple suppliers have expanded their facilities, producing the majority of iPhone 12, 13, 14, and 15 models in India for local sales and exports, according to Counterpoint Research.

However, only the iPhone 15 has the new universal charging port, and Apple argued in the meeting that the “design of the earlier products cannot be changed.” Prabhu Ram, Head of the Industry Intelligence Group at CyberMedia Research, notes that consumers in India’s price-conscious market often prefer purchasing older iPhone models, and the push for a common charger on these older models could potentially impact Apple’s targets.

The EU’s charging port regulations are set to take effect in December 2024, and India is aiming for compliance by June 2025. Apple indicated during the meeting that it could meet the timeline if existing models are exempted from the regulations but would need an additional 18 months beyond 2024 if they are not. Apple executives stressed the need for a natural transition period, considering product design timelines. As of now, neither Apple nor India’s IT ministry has responded to requests for comment on these developments.

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