Apple warns that India’s EU-style rules for USB Type-C ports on iPhone models will hit local production targets

Apple has told the Indian government that its local production targets will be hit if New Delhi follows the European Union and requires universal charging ports in existing iPhone models, a government document shows that the US tech giant exempted. Or advocating for delay.

India wants to implement an EU rule that will require smartphones to have a universal USB-C charging port, and manufacturers are talking about implementing this requirement in India by June 2025, six months after the EU deadline. Is conversing with. While all manufacturers including Samsung are on board with India’s plan, Apple is pushing back.

Apple has been offering a unique Lightning connector port on its iPhones for years. However, the EU estimates that the single charger solution would save consumers about $271 million (roughly Rs. 2,259 crores), and India has said the move will reduce e-waste and help users.

In a closed-door meeting on November 28, chaired by India’s IT Ministry, Apple asked officials to exempt existing iPhone models from the rules, warning that otherwise it would be barred from India’s production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme. Will have to struggle to meet the production targets set under. Meeting minutes seen by Reuters.

PLI is a flagship project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and it provides fiscal incentives to electronic manufacturers in India for new investments and incremental phone sales every year. This has been used extensively by Apple suppliers such as Foxconn to expand iPhone manufacturing in the country.

The minutes quoted Apple’s regulatory and product compliance officials opposing the regulations, saying, “If the regulation is applied to older models of mobile phones, they (Apple) will not be able to meet PLI targets.”

Two people familiar with the discussions said Apple did not quantify the production impact at the meeting and the IT ministry decided to review its request and reach a decision later.

Apple, whose lobbying efforts in India are being reported for the first time, and India’s IT ministry did not respond to Reuters requests for comment.

can’t change design

India is seen as Apple’s next growth frontier after China.

Noted Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has estimated that 12-14 percent of iPhone production will come from India in 2023, with that number rising to 25 percent next year.

In terms of market share, Apple has 6 percent of India’s fast-growing smartphone market, compared to just 2 percent four years ago. Counterpoint Research estimates that Apple suppliers have expanded their facilities and make the majority of iPhone 12, 13, 14 and 15 models in India for local sales and exports.

Only the iPhone 15 has the new universal charging port. Apple told Indian officials at the meeting that “the design of earlier products cannot be changed,” the document shows.

Prabhu Ram, head of industry intelligence group at Cybermedia Research, said consumers in India’s value-conscious market prefer to buy older model iPhones that generally get cheaper with new launches, and for normal chargers on older models. India’s push could impact Apple’s goals.

“Apple’s fortunes in India are largely tied to the older generation iPhones,” he said.

The EU’s charging port rules will come into effect in December 2024 and India wants compliance by June 2025.

Apple told officials it could comply with that deadline if existing models are exempt from the rules, but if not it would need another 18 months beyond 2024.

“A natural transition period should be allowed to take into account product design timelines,” Apple executives were quoted as saying by government officials in the minutes.

© Thomson Reuters 2023


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