India is trying to unseat China in higher-end manufacturing, with iPhone maker Apple and chipmakers eyeing its vast lands and young population.
With its vast lands and large, young population, India is a natural alternative to China as the world’s factory.
Particularly, since India’s population is set to surpass China’s to become the world’s most populous country in 2023, the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs said in a July report.
Tech giant Apple, for one, has already moved some of its iPhone production to the Indian states of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, and is exploring moving its iPad manufacturing to the South Asian nation as well. JP Morgan analysts expect Apple to move 5% of its iPhone 14 to India by the end of 2022, they wrote in a September note. They foresee that one in four iPhones will be made in India by 2025.
India has a large labor pool, a long history of manufacturing, and government support for boosting industry and exports. Because of this, many are exploring whether Indian manufacturing is a viable alternative to China,” Julie Gerdeman, the CEO of supply chain risk management platform Everstream, told Insider.
However, the move is easier said than done.
India’s Prime Minister Modi has been working on attracting foreign direct investments, or FDI, since he took office in 2014, sending FDI to a record $83.6 billion in the last fiscal year, according to government data.
But significant hurdles still exist — even though the Indian government is boosting its appeal to foreign investments, it’s still harder to do business in the country than in China, in part due to bureaucracy, red tape, and multiple stakeholders that prolong decision-making.