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Apple Supplier Reportedly Making AirPods Components in India for Export to China, Vietnam

Apple-supplier Jabil Inc’s India unit has begun making components for AirPods in the country and is shipping plastic bodies or enclosures for AirPods to China and Vietnam, Bloomberg News reported on Sunday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Apple and Jabil did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

The move marks another step in Apple’s plans to shift its manufacturing away from China amid rising trade and geopolitical tensions between Beijing and Washington.

The iPhone maker wants India to account for up to 25 percent of its production, from about 5-7 percent now, according to Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal. “Apple, another success story,” Piyush Goyal said earlier this month, pitching India as a competitive manufacturing destination. “They are already at about 5-7 percent of their manufacturing in India. If I am not mistaken, they are targeting to go up to 25 percent of their manufacturing. They launched the most recent models from India, manufactured in India.”

Ashwini Vaishnaw, Indian’s Electronics and Information Technology Minister, tweeted on Monday that Apple’s exports from India had hit $1 billion (about Rs. 8,141 crore) in December.

Apple has bet big on India since it began iPhone assembly in the country in 2017, in line with the Indian government’s push for local manufacturing. Last year, the company asked its suppliers to move some AirPods and Beats headphone production to India for the first time.

Apple iPhone assembler Foxconn is preparing to make Beats headphones in India and hopes to eventually produce AirPods in the country as well, the report said, citing sources. Luxshare Precision Industry, a Chinese supplier to the iPhone maker, and its units also plan to help Apple make AirPods in India, according to the report.

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