Apple Requests Delay In India's New USB-C Port Mandate: Here's Why

Apple is in a tight spot with India’s plan to adopt the European Union’s universal USB-C charging port requirement by June 2025. This regulation, which aims to reduce e-waste and benefit consumers, could significantly impact Apple’s local production targets.

What Happened? According to a Reuters report, unlike other manufacturers like Samsung who have agreed to India’s proposal, Apple is pushing for an exemption or delay. The company’s iPhones have long used a unique lightning connector, and changing to a universal port for existing models poses a challenge.

During a confidential meeting on November 28 with India’s IT ministry, Apple representatives requested an exemption for their current iPhone models, citing potential struggles to meet production targets under India’s production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme.

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This scheme, a key initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, offers fiscal incentives to electronics manufacturers for new investments and incremental phone sales. Apple did not specify the extent of the production impact but stressed that adherence to the new regulation for older models would hinder their ability to meet PLI targets.

Why it matters: Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo predicts that 12-14% of iPhone production in 2023 and up to 25% in the following year will occur in India. Currently, Apple holds a 6% market share in India’s booming smartphone sector, a significant increase from just 2% four years ago. The company’s request for an exemption highlights its reliance on older iPhone models, which are popular in India’s price-sensitive market. The Indian government has not yet reached a decision, planning to review Apple’s request later.

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