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BW Businessworld

Apple India: Beefing Up Presence

Apple is reducing its impact on the environment by diverting manufacturing waste from landfills

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Founded by Steve Jobs and his partners in the late 1970s, Apple is among the world’s largest conglomerates. What began as a computer company now makes a wide range of devices and software, including smartphones, computers, smart watches and many IoT devices. In August 2018, Apple became the first US brand to be valued at more than $1 trillion. 

Apple India appears in BW Businessworld’s list of the Most Respected Companies, not because its US principal contributes product quality and technology leadership to India, but due to adoption of its global best practices work in India too. Apple is the world’s largest technology company by revenue and one of the world’s most valuable companies. It is also the world’s third-largest mobilephone manufacturer after Samsung and Huawei. In the 2019 financial year (October 2018 to September 2019), Apple’s revenue came to a total of $260.2 billion. In 2018, Apple announced its highest annual revenue to date with $265.6 billion generated in revenue.

In India, Apple means ‘quality’ to consumers. Apple continues to be an aspirational brand in India fancied by anyone with higher purchasing power. It stands for class, not mass, says one executive at its exclusive store. Majority of consumers may not have any past experience with the brand, but they still desire the brand due to the reputation it has earned globally, its product aesthetics and American roots.

The company began the local manufacturing via one of Apple’s key manufacturers —Wistron Corp — in July 2019. It was confirmed back then that Apple had begun manufacturing iPhone 7 locally in India in a facility at Narasapura in Kolar district, on the outskirts of Bengaluru. Earlier, only iPhone 6s and SE models were manufactured out of the unit.

“We are proud to be producing iPhone 7 in Bengaluru for our local customers furthering our long-term commitment in India,” an Apple India spokesperson had said in a statement last year. 

When Wistron had announced its plans to open another facility near Bengaluru, its second in India after Peenya, an industrial area of the Bengaluru city, it was widely anticipated that Apple India will produce more high-end devices in India. Wistron, a Taiwanese contract manufacturer that also manufacturers for Xiaomi and Nokia, is sitting on a 43-acre land parcel for manufacturing Apple products having invested Rs 3,000 crore or more. 

The India manufacturing and expansion has come at a time when reportedly the sales of Apple phones have been slipping here mainly due to the onslaught of cheaper, but robust Chinese mobile brands offering high-end cameras, better and better resolutions and offerings thereby virtually forcing a shift in buying habits of consumers. But news reports suggest that Apple is focusing on its strategy to target high-end users with premium products while keeping older handsets like 6S alive as an entry device for first-time users. Reports also suggest that Foxconn Technology Group, Apple’s other big contract manufacturer operating in India, is also scaling up local manufacturing and plans to invest more money to expand its Tamil Nadu-based plant in coming times.

Apple introduced a special health programme for women with suppliers in India and China. In the programme, participants learn about nutritional, maternal, and preventive healthcare and are encouraged to share what they learn with their co-workers, families, and friends. Apple is also reducing its impacts on the environment by diverting manufacturing waste from landfills. In 2017, 100 per cent of its final assembly facilities for iPhone were zero-waste certified. To help its suppliers achieve this objective, it offers tools and guidance, including the services of experts in sustainable waste management solutions. Since 2015, 6,25,000 metric tonnes of waste have been diverted from landfills — enough to cover 2,545 meter-deep soccer fields.   

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Most Respected Companies 2020