Apple’s top iPhones could see their production moved from China to India soon, according to a new report.
The tech giant’s top iPhone assembler, Foxconn, is examining whether a move to manufacturing iPhones and other popular products in India would make more sense, The Wall Street Journal is reporting, citing people who claim to have knowledge of its plans. Foxconn chairman Terry Gou will visit India as part of that research, according to the Journal.
Apple’s flagship iPhones have been produced in China since the smartphone’s launch in 2007. Apple’s Chinese manufacturing partners have helped to keep assembly costs down and meet heavy demand. Apple has long said that its supply chain and its manufacturing partners are crucial to its success.
However, with U.S. and Chinese trade relations becoming increasingly strained, the iPhone has come under scrutiny. Apple’s reliance upon China for manufacturing could put the company in an untenable situation if a full-blown trade war between the U.S. and China erupts. Foxconn moving production to India before that could happen could not only help the manufacturer keep Apple’s business, but also help the iPhone maker sidestep possible Chinese troubles.
Rumblings about an expanded iPhone production operation moving to India have surfaced several times in the last few months. Apple already has its budget-friendly iPhone SE model produced in India by manufacturing partner Wistron. Foxconn, according to this and other reports, could move production of the higher-end iPhones, iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR, to India, according to the report.
Still, there are some possible downsides to moving to India. According to the Journal‘s sources, Foxconn is concerned that Indian workers aren’t as skilled at producing smartphones as those in China and India’s infrastructure needs to catch up to that of China’s.
Given that, Foxconn is also examining whether moving production to Vietnam would make more sense. For now, however, India is the front-runner.
Foxconn did not immediately respond to a Fortune request for comment on the report.