Indian Economy: News and Discussion

HariPrasad-1

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Wonder why doesn't rupee apreciate when all other major currencies like Yuan, Yen, Euro, Pound etc do? Dollar index has gone down recently and all other major, minor went up. Happened last year as well.
A very genuine question.
 

HariPrasad-1

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"We project China's GDP growth to slow to 4.6 per cent in 2024 (2023: 5.4 per cent), edge up to 4.8 per cent in 2025, and return to 4.6 per cent in 2026. We see India reaching 7.0 per cent in 2026; Vietnam, 6.8 per cent (4.9 per cent); Philippines, 6.4 per cent (5.4 per cent); and Indonesia remaining steady at 5 per cent," S&P said.
China actually is manipulating GDP data. They have negative growth rate. Chinese economy has deflation. Their rise in manufacturing is not demand driven. Nobody is ready to but real estate even at half of the cost of purchase. Prostitution is very common and rampant. Prostitution is the only easy way to earn money. Chinese girls request Indian boys to marry them and take them to India. Their working population has decreased very fast. People are timid has lost any courage to raise their voice against Dictator Xi. In a decade or so, you guys will witness that China will not be a very important country as it promised to be one upon a time. China's future seems bleak. What world need is Xi to remain in power for some more time.
 

Haldilal

लड़ते लड़ते जीना है, लड़ते लड़ते मरना है
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A very genuine question.
Ya'll Nibbiars Only one Answer The RBI has tailored exchange policy like that the rupees has almost zero chances I strenting, but lot of devaluations. And could have gone into details but most members don't like long post so will be extremely brief. Rest you can search about this.
 

Roshan

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Interesting article. It does have some racist undertones and highlights some of the challenges with manufacturing in India though, especially from a Chinese pov though it seems they like the somewhat laid back attitude that Indians have.
Inside Foxconn’s India iPhone factory expansion - Rest of World

Inside Foxconn’s struggle to make iPhones in India
Chinese engineers are flying to India to train the next generation of iPhone builders.

A photo showing the exterior of a bus at night with a silhouette of a person's head slumped against the window.


hen Chinese engineer Li Hai left the wintry cold of northern China and flew into the humid heat of Tamil Nadu in southern India, he had little idea what to expect.

It was early 2023. Months before the trip, a manager at the Foxconn iPhone factory where he worked had asked for volunteers to go on a temporary assignment to India. Li didn’t think long. He’d never traveled much, but was eager to. “I just wanted to go out and take a look,” Li told Rest of World, using a pseudonym because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

Li is soft-spoken, sincere, and unassuming. He grew up in a rural part of China known for its steel mill industry, and had never strayed far. But what he lacked in his knowledge of the wider world, he made up for with curiosity.

Foxconn organized a brief training session on cultural sensitivity before his trip. There, Li was taught not to mention religion or politics, and to say “please” when speaking with his new Indian colleagues. “People from China might talk in a blunt way,” he said. “But when we talk with Indians, we should be more polite.”

Li worried most about food. On the eve of his departure, he packed his suitcase with diarrhea medication, packets of soup base to make his own Chinese hot pot, and — because he’d heard people in India ate with their hands — chopsticks.

Nervous but excited, Li carried his first passport on his first flight for his first trip abroad. The flight was a series of surprises: Turbulence, the diverse crowds in the Singapore airport where he had a layover, the cabin crew who addressed him in English.

His final destination was Sunguvarchatram, an industrial center on the outskirts of the state capital Chennai. The town sits at the heart of a global shift in electronics manufacturing currently underway.

Like many of its competitors, Apple has relied on China for assembling its products for years. But political and economic factors have forced the company, as well as the broader tech sector, to rethink that approach by seeking partners from across the region.

Foxconn — also known as Hon Hai Precision Industry — has been investing heavily in its iPhone factory in Sunguvarchatram. But with the factory’s higher material costs and a greater percentage of defective phones, the company has struggled to replicate the cutthroat efficiency it is known for, according to people familiar with the matter. As a result, the iPhones produced by Foxconn in Sunguvarchatram have always been less profitable than those made in China, two people close to the company told Rest of World. Foxconn did not respond to requests for comment.

Early this year, in an effort to improve production and ready the plant to manufacture Apple’s upcoming flagship iPhone 15, Foxconn dispatched more Chinese workers to Sunguvarchatram. Engineers like Li would get the India plant up to China speed.

Using language apps, half-remembered classroom English, and gestures, Li and hundreds of his Chinese colleagues were tasked with translating the Foxconn formula for an Indian workforce largely unfamiliar with the intensity and intricacies of 21st-century electronics manufacturing.

It would be a serious challenge. In late August, Rest of World visited Sunguvarchatram, where Foxconn and other Apple suppliers were working at full throttle ahead of the iPhone 15 launch. We spoke with more than two dozen assembly line workers, technicians, engineers, and managers, all of whom requested anonymity or pseudonyms to avoid being identified by their employers.

They detailed the successes, struggles, and cultural clashes that, over the past year or so, have played out on one of the world’s most consequential factory floors. In China, Foxconn demands long days, high targets, and minimal delays and mistakes — all of which proved difficult, if not impossible, to replicate in India. The stress clearly took a toll on the company’s local workforce.

The ultimate goal — a successful production run of the iPhone 15 — would be a high-profile marker of India’s budding manufacturing prowess.

“The government’s message is that India has arrived on the scene, and is moving towards becoming a manufacturing powerhouse,” Anand P. Krishnan, a fellow with the Centre of Excellence for Himalayan Studies at Shiv Nadar University, who studies manufacturing labor in China and India, told Rest of World. “Manufacturing an entire iPhone 15 within India — that is going to be projected as a big moment not just for Apple, but [also] for India.”

A photo showing a set of road entrance billboards in English and Hindi with buses, cars, and trucks on the roads below it.

Signage at the entrance to SIPCOT Industrial Park, where Foxconn’s iPhone plant is located in Sunguvarchatram.
Every eight hours, the streets of Sunguvarchatram come alive with buses emblazoned with the names of multinational tech giants — Samsung, Yamaha, or FHH, for Foxconn Hon Hai. Tired workers are ferried between factories and their apartments or dormitories — known as hostels in India. Others hop onto motorcycles or climb into three-wheeled auto rickshaws.

Sunguvarchatram is part of a budding industrial corridor between Chennai and Bengaluru, southern India’s biggest cities. Foreign carmakers opened factories here first. Starting in the 2000s, Taiwanese tech manufacturers set up operations. Among them were Foxconn and its competitor Wistron, which was the first company to make iPhones in India in 2017 — the lower-end iPhone SE.

The area is still in transition from an agricultural town to a global manufacturing hub. Fallow fields are interspersed with high-tech factory campuses and brand-new hostels built to accommodate thousands of assembly line workers.

Sunguvarchatram’s evolution is a dream come true for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In 2014, at a Delhi landmark during his first Independence Day address, he unveiled what would become his signature “Make in India” initiative. “I want to appeal to people all over the world, from the ramparts of the Red Fort, ‘Come, make in India,’ ‘Come, manufacture in India,’” Modi said.

During most of the second half of the 20th century, India was home to a thriving industry of national electronics manufacturers. But in 1991, import taxes were lowered, and foreign competitors flooded and dominated the market. Indian brands folded, and the country’s tech manufacturing sector collapsed. It is one of the reasons why India has had a persistent problem with anemic job creation for its young and quickly growing population over the past three decades.


Annual foreign investment has doubled since the announcement of Make in India, according to the government, but critics say the initiative is a work in progress at best. The manufacturing sector slightly outpaced India’s economy overall between 2003 and 2018, but — despite Make in India — has since fallen behind. Its output grew by just 1.3% over the past year. Tech manufacturing, however, has once again become a bright spot. Companies like Foxconn, Samsung, and the Chinese-owned Salcomp have all announced new or expanded facilities since last year.

A primary driver of investment in India is the continuing U.S.-China trade war. Chinese workers are also no longer the cheapest option for some manufacturing: The country’s workforce is shrinking, better educated than ever, and not that interested in factory jobs anymore.

A photo showing political posters on a wall.

Political posters with photos of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other BJP politicians (left) alongside an image of popular Tamil actor Vijay (right) on a wall in Sunguvarchatram.
Late last year, a series of crises at the world’s biggest iPhone factory — a Foxconn facility in Zhengzhou, central China — underscored Apple’s need to diversify its manufacturing partners. According to one estimate, the factory’s delays cost Apple $1 billion a week.

Apple has since sped up plans to expand in India. Foxconn is in the middle of doubling its workforce in the country. Company chairman Young Liu has met with Modi three times over the past 18 months to discuss expansion plans. Many other companies in the iPhone supply chain are also scouting locations for factories, Jules Shih, director of the Chennai branch of Taipei World Trade Center, a Taiwanese government-funded trade promotion group, told Rest of World.

Some of China’s manufacturing strengths will be hard for India to match. China’s one-party system goes to great lengths on Foxconn’s behalf, investing billions of dollars to help set up factories, subsidize energy and shipping, and recruit and bus in workers during labor shortages. Independent unions are banned in China.

In India, Apple’s suppliers have to contend with local policymakers, landowners, and labor groups. The country lacks China’s vast network of material and equipment makers, who compete for Apple orders by cutting their own margins. “Apple has been spoiled in China,” a senior manager at an Apple supplier, who was recently deployed from China to India, told Rest of World. “Here, except labor, everything else is expensive.”

A photo showing a street scene in India with a man riding a motorbike, a golden idol draped in flowers with his hand raised, a bus, and buildings with telephone lines running between them.

People pass a bus stop at a busy intersection in Sunguvarchatram.
Foxconn began manufacturing iPhones at Sunguvarchatram in 2019, starting with the iPhone XR. At that point, the model was more than a year old. When Li arrived at Foxconn Sunguvarchatram in early 2023, the factory was making iPhone 14s, for which production in India had begun two months after its launch. This year, the goal was to have a shipment of made-in-India iPhone 15s ready to go as soon as the model was announced.

The iPhone plant is part of a sprawling 60-hectare campus where Foxconn also makes phones for other brands. About 35,000 employees go to work inside half a dozen white, three-story factory buildings. Li may as well have been walking back into the Chinese plant he was familiar with at home: the same advanced equipment, the same rows of tables with workers repeating tasks thousands of times a day, the same final product. But there was one obvious difference. Unlike in China, the assembly line was staffed almost exclusively by young women.

When electronics manufacturing took off in China in the 1980s, rural women who had just begun moving to the cities made up the majority of the factory workforce. They didn’t have many other options. Managers at companies like Foxconn preferred to hire women because they believed them to be more obedient, Jenny Chan, a sociologist at Hong Kong Polytechnic University who studies labor issues at Foxconn, told Rest of World.

Over the past 30 years, that’s changed. Today, most of China’s iPhone workers are men; women have moved into less arduous service sector jobs. But in India, Foxconn and other electronics manufacturers are once again recruiting from a female workforce beginning to migrate for better jobs.

Hiring a young, female workforce in India comes with its own requirements — which include reassuring doting parents about the safety of their daughters. The company offers workers free food, lodging, and buses to ensure a safe commute at all hours of the day. On days off, women who live in Foxconn hostels have a 6 p.m. curfew; permission is required to spend the night elsewhere. “[If] they go out and not return by a specific time, their parents would be informed,” a former Foxconn HR manager told Rest of World. “[That’s how] they offer trust to their parents.”

A photo showing two buses, filled with people, driving on a dirt road.

Buses transporting workers leave the Foxconn plant in Sunguvarchatram at the end of the day.
Foxconn also had to find a workaround for employing married women. The company typically requires workers to pass through metal detectors when entering and exiting its factories in order to prevent leaks about upcoming products, according to reports. But in India, married women wear a mangalsutra, a metal pendant; and a metti, a metal toe ring. These workers are searched manually and have their jewelry logged in a notebook.

Padmini grew up as one of five siblings in the countryside near the ancient city of Tirunelveli — a nine-hour drive south of Chennai. The 26-year-old has a nursing degree, but felt “trapped” being on call 24/7 as a stay-at-home nurse.

Padmini got an assembly line job at Foxconn in 2021. Initially, she felt overwhelmed — the protective clothing, the machinery, the ominous “please cooperate with us” slogan on the wall. Having lived her whole life in inescapable tropical heat, she struggled to adjust to what felt to her like freezing cold air-conditioning. “I didn’t even know what a tweezer was,” she told Rest of World. “I didn’t know the name. I didn’t know how to hold it.”

Padmini now shares a modest one-bedroom apartment in Sunguvarchatram with eight other women — five sleep in the hall, and four in the bedroom. They each pay 1,250 rupees ($15) in rent. “It is a little difficult,” Padmini said. She rarely sees her roommates, who all rotate through different shifts once a week — 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., or 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. — and only have Sundays off.

Every workday, Padmini rides a Foxconn shuttle bus to the factory, passes a metal detector, puts on an anti-static gown over her kurta, and sits down at the assembly line, where, every hour, she’ll stitch together at least 495 volume control parts.

A photo showing a street scene of a parked car, a billboard advertising a

A man walks past a billboard advertising a ladies’ hostel in Sriperumbudur.
When they first got to India, Li and his peers struggled to communicate with their new coworkers. They’d learned English in high school and university but had barely used it since. Locals had trouble understanding how they pronounced even simple phrases, like “thank you.” Li studied vocabulary books during his commutes and meal breaks. He also carried a notebook and a pen, so that whenever Indian coworkers used words he didn’t recognize, he could ask them to write down what they said.

Language barriers became most apparent when dealing with equipment, which is often sourced from China. “All machines have Mandarin. Standard operating procedures, work instructions, commands — everything comes only in [Chinese]. Even the software is like that,” an Indian senior manager said. “Even the ‘emergency button’ will be written in Mandarin.”

Chinese engineers told Rest of World they train Indian colleagues on operating and repairing machines with the help of translation apps, or with more primitive methods. “Body language is universal,” one Chinese engineer said.

“Even the ‘emergency button’ will be written in Mandarin.”
A Chennai-based translator who speaks fluent Mandarin and has worked for many Chinese and Taiwanese companies operating in the area, including Foxconn, told Rest of World they often find themself in the middle of tense situations and frayed patience.

They recounted how a Chinese Foxconn worker became frustrated with a junior Indian technician who repeatedly failed to solve a technical glitch. The Chinese worker fixed it himself and walked away. “He did not teach me,” the translator recalled the Indian worker saying timidly. “How many times should I teach?” the Chinese worker replied.

Indian workers initially couldn’t grasp why their Chinese colleagues would get so upset by things like a 30-minute machine breakdown, the translator said. Over time, though, the Indian middle managers have gradually become more sensitive to delays.

Once, when a malfunctioning piece of equipment halted part of Foxconn’s iPhone assembly line, the resulting panic left a deep impression on the translator. As a technician rushed to fix the issue, an Indian manager hulking over him kept demanding in Tamil, “Is it over? Is it over?” The technician’s hands trembled under the pressure, the translator recalled.

A photo showing two cows grazing in a open field near a construction project.

An expansion project underway on the Foxconn site.
This year, for the first time ever, Apple wanted to build its new iPhone model in China and India concurrently. Trial production — a particularly challenging part of the iPhone manufacturing cycle — began around April. Foxconn flew in yet more Chinese employees to introduce new machinery to Sunguvarchatram workers and deal with any hiccups.

The same month, the Tamil Nadu government sent a strong signal welcoming Foxconn and other manufacturers: Authorities approved new regulations that would increase workdays from eight to 12 hours. This meant that Foxconn and other electronics factories would be able to reduce the number of shifts needed to keep their production line running from three to two, just like in China.

Shift lengths have been a point of contention this year in India, pitting big international manufacturing firms against local workers and interest groups. In February, following lobbying from Apple, Foxconn, and other companies, the Indian state Karnataka loosened its labor laws to allow for 12-hour work shifts, according to the Financial Times. Foxconn plans to build two new factories in the state.

In response, the All India United Trade Union Centre and other activist groups staged a protest, during which participants burned copies of the proposed bill. Although the Karnataka assembly passed the law, no major company in the state is known to have implemented a 12-hour workday.

"I’ll die if it’s 12 hours of work."
Tamil Nadu’s subsequent policy change also received strong pushback from opposition parties and workers’ rights groups. Political parties aligned with the government called the bill “anti-labor” and, during the vote, walked out of the legislative assembly. After the bill passed, trade unions in the state announced a series of actions including a demonstration on motorbikes, civil disobedience campaigns, and protests in front of the ruling party’s local headquarters. The government shelved its new rule within four days.

Indian Foxconn workers told Rest of World that eight hours under intense pressure is already hard to bear. “I’ll die if it’s 12 hours of work,” said Padmini, the assembly line worker. “I have to be alive to do work.”

For the expatriate workers, the slower pace of the factory floors in India is its own shock to the system. A Taiwanese manager at a different iPhone supplier in the Chennai area told Rest of World that India’s 8-hour shifts and industry-standard tea breaks were a drag on production. “You have barely settled in on your seat, and the next break comes,” the manager lamented.

Timeline: Foxconn in India
2006

Foxconn starts operations in India, including at its factory in Sunguvarchatram. Nokia is its main client.
2010
The Sunguvarchatram factory closes temporarily after 250 workers are hospitalized. Later in the year, hundreds are arrested after they go on strike.
2014
Foxconn announces it will shut its India operations, reportedly due to a lack of orders.
2015
The company reverses course. Chairman Terry Gou announces Foxconn is developing new facilities in India.

In China, Foxconn relies on lax enforcement of the country’s labor law — which limits workdays to eight hours and caps overtime — as well as lucrative bonuses to get employees to work 11 hours a day during production peaks. Two foreign employees at the Sunguvarchatram plant told Rest of World that Foxconn used bonuses and promotional opportunities to encourage engineers and managers in India, too.

But five Chinese and Taiwanese workers said they were surprised to discover that their Indian colleagues refused to work overtime. Some attributed it to a weak sense of responsibility; others to what they perceived as Indian people’s low material desire. “They are easily content,” an engineer deployed from Zhengzhou said. “They can’t handle even a bit more pressure. But if we don’t give them pressure, then we won’t be able to get everything right and move production here in a short time.”

Three current and former Foxconn employees told Rest of World that the foreign managers and technicians hurled the same abusive language they used at home at underperforming Indian workers. It happened less often after some of them complained to HR, one employee said. But the foreign staff are still frustrated by local workers’ performance. “They know how to do it, but they are slow,” the employee said. “They even walk slowly.”

A foreign manager complained that Indian workers requested leave too frequently — to care for sick family members, for instance — or for reasons they considered insufficient, such as a “blood moon” lunar eclipse, deemed particularly inauspicious for women. They and another foreign manager said Indian workers were also frequently late to meetings.

At the same time, the expat staff enjoy the Indian work culture of tea breaks, chatting with colleagues, and going home on time. They recognize they are helping the company spread a Chinese work culture that they know can be unhealthy. At Foxconn’s factories in China, people strive to exceed their targets, sacrifice leave days, and stay late to impress the bosses.

The Chinese workplace is too neijuan, or “involuted,” several expat employees said. The term, increasingly popular in China, describes the incessant competition in Chinese society and the grinding race to the bottom that comes with it. “Gradually, we’re bringing involution to India,” joked an engineer.

A photo showing a night scene outside an upscale apartment complex with a man talking on a phone and other people milling about.

The Hiranandani Parks residential complex in Oragadam, where Foxconn and other companies rent apartments for foreign employees.
By May, Li had overcome much of his language barrier, he said, amazed by his own progress. “Surprisingly, I could understand what they were saying!” He could talk about iPhone minutiae, but also engage in small talk. One woman on the assembly line told Li she was jealous of his “white” skin color. Others were curious why he was single. “House, car, and money,” he replied, explaining the requirements for an eligible bachelor back home. “Chinese girls, very bad,” he remembered a female worker responding. “Here no house, no car, no money. Only love.”

The mostly male Chinese engineers live isolated from local communities. Foxconn has rented them homes in a high-end apartment complex called Hiranandani Parks. Its 27-story towers look incongruous with the surrounding countryside. The shared apartments are sparsely decorated. Some workers have hung their own mosquito nets above their beds — several Chinese workers have caught dengue in India.

In the evenings, the Chinese engineers frequent a handful of East Asian restaurants, go jogging through their compound, or call their children, parents, and partners back home. On Sundays, Foxconn sends a shuttle bus to bring them to one of three shopping malls in Chennai.

Li never adjusted to Indian food. He tried a few local dishes, but quickly gave up. “Every time I walk past the Indian canteen on my way to the office, I can’t stand the smell,” he said. “Their food is all yellow and mushy stuff.” During the weekly trips downtown, Li sticks with KFC and McDonald’s.

A photo showing a group of men eating and drinking at a restaurant.

Diners at a restaurant catering to East Asian people in Sriperumbudur.
Foxconn has a Chinese food canteen where specially trained Indian chefs make dishes such as pork stew or tomato egg stir-fry. Chinese workers have $60 deducted from their weekly expat bonuses in exchange for three meals a day. On Sundays, the engineers cook themselves elaborate banquets using ingredients from a nearby Korean supermarket or use those they stuffed in their suitcases from home.

Despite occasional disputes during shifts, Chinese and Indian coworkers socialize outside of work. Indian employees sometimes visit Hiranandani Parks for festivities like Chinese New Year, or to join the Sunday banquets, Li said. Chinese engineers take advantage of those occasions to video-call their children so they can practice English with their Indian colleagues.

Both groups have picked up phrases from the other’s language. Sometimes an Indian colleague will greet Li with the common Chinese greeting, “Have you eaten yet?” To which Li will reply in Tamil, “I already ate.”

  • A photo showing people shopping in an isle at a grocery store.

    People shop at a supermarket catering to East Asian customers at Hiranandani Parks.
  • A photo showing packages of ramen for sale on a shelf at a grocery store.

    East Asian brands of ramen on sale at a supermarket in Hiranandani Parks.
A photo showing the exterior of a grocery store with signage in English and Korean, at night.

Seoul Store, a Korean supermarket, along a highway in Sriperumbudur.
From June onward, the iPhone 15’s trial production ramped up ahead of the September launch. A sense of urgency spread throughout the factory. Workers who used to leave as soon as their shift ended now stayed at the office until late at night, in part so they could stay in touch with U.S.-based Apple employees.

For Indian workers, it was a rough adjustment. “They might feel uncomfortable at first, but they need to gradually get used to it,” one foreign employee told Rest of World. “[The company is] slowly establishing the Chinese hardworking mode here.”

On the assembly line, Foxconn’s targets were tough to reach, workers said. Jaishree, 21, joined the iPhone shop floor in 2022 as a recent graduate with a degree in mathematics. (With India’s high level of unemployment, Foxconn’s assembly line has plenty of women with advanced degrees, including MBAs.) Jaishree told Rest of World that during her first week, she was scared to use the screw gun to fasten an iPhone’s tiny screws and struggled to match the required pace. “At the start, during my eight-hour shift, I did about 300 [screws]. Now, I do 750,” she said. “We have to finish within time, otherwise they will scold us.”

With the intense workload, bathroom visits require strategizing. “I go only during breaks,” said Jaishree. “If we go [to the bathroom], the work would build up.” Another worker, Rajalakshmi, said her target is to inspect 526 motherboards every hour. The soft-spoken 23-year-old tries not to step away from her work in between breaks, knowing an unmet target will invoke the ire of her assembly line leader.

Mealtimes are an issue, too. In December 2021, thousands of Indian Foxconn employees protested after some 250 colleagues contracted food poisoning. In response, the company changed food contractors, and increased its monthly base salary from 14,000 rupees to 18,000 rupees ($168 to $216) — double the minimum wage prescribed by the Tamil Nadu labor department for unskilled workers.

Though Foxconn’s Indian canteen currently serves a variety of local staples — flatbreads, lentil stews, spicy soups, and, on Wednesdays, meat-based dishes — assembly workers still complain of poor quality. “Just to satisfy our hunger we eat,” Padmini said. Women who live in Foxconn hostels complain about the food served there all the time, she said. “Sometimes they don’t eat at all.”

Working conditions take a physical toll. Padmini has experienced hair loss because she has to wear a skull cap and work in air-conditioned spaces, she said. “Neck pain is the worst, since we are constantly bending down and working.” She has irregular periods, which she attributes to the air conditioning and the late shifts. “[Among] girls with me on the production line, some six girls have this problem,” Padmini said.

Workers said they regularly see colleagues become unwell. “The day before yesterday, a girl fainted and they took her to the hospital,” Padmini told Rest of World in September, adding that two more women had fainted that same week. “Mostly it happens during the first shift. Many girls come without eating or wouldn’t have slept properly.” Rajalakshmi said she had witnessed three women faint in September.

Two Chinese engineers confirmed that they had seen ambulances taking away unwell workers, and said this was uncommon in China. They theorized Indian women don’t eat enough. Another engineer suggested the female workers were too thin. “If you give them meat, they won’t eat it because of their religious customs,” he said.

Apple declined to comment on the record. The Tamil Nadu Labour Welfare and Skill Development Department did not respond to requests for comment.

"They used to hire women up to age 30, now they hire only up to 28."
Although Chinese workers today still deal with frequent overtime and constant pressure, their food, living conditions, and health care have improved, said Chan from Hong Kong Polytechnic University. But sleep-deprived women fainting and missing periods was common during the early years of China’s manufacturing boom as well, according to labor scholar Pun Ngai’s book Made in China: Women Factory Workers in a Global Workplace.

Still, the factories’ relatively high pay, combined with an escape from village life and parental control, made the job worth it. The same is now happening in Chennai. Female workers at the factory told Rest of World that, as the main breadwinners, they are now able to convince their parents to delay marrying them off. Two iPhone assembly line workers told Rest of World they were using their income to build homes back in their villages.

Padmini, now about two years into the job, talked about life at Foxconn with the confidence of a seasoned factory worker. Dressed in a plain red churidar-kameez — a long Indian dress — with a scarf around her shoulders and metallic earrings on her Sunday off, she said she was saving up most of her monthly income to repurchase the gold heirlooms her parents had pawned. She had also bought her first smartphone, a cheap Xiaomi model.

Her biggest worry is getting too old for the job and being let go. Padmini and two other workers told Rest of World that Foxconn prefers to hire younger women. Padmini, at 26, believes she is close to the age where the company might consider her too old. “They used to hire women up to age 30, now they hire only up to 28,” she said.

A photo showing people waiting by the side of the road during twilight.

People wait by the side of the road during the early morning hours for buses to transport them to nearby factories.
On September 12, Apple unveiled the iPhone 15 at its headquarters in Cupertino, California. The company’s slick announcement video brimmed with buzzwords expounding on the iPhone’s qualities: “aerospace-grade aluminum,” “nano-crystalline particles,” “quad-pixel sensor.”

Half a world away, Foxconn Sunguvarchatram had succeeded in its mission. By late summer, the iPhone 15 assembly line was humming. The percentage of defective phones — an important indicator — had decreased to the levels achieved in China, Foxconn employees told Rest of World.

The same day that Apple executives unveiled the iPhone 15, Foxconn workers in Sunguvarchatram gathered to perform a puja for the plant’s first shipment of the new model.

The Hindu ritual, common in India’s manufacturing industry, asks for a smooth production process. In front of a truck loaded up with new phones, workers placed framed pictures of Hindu gods decorated with flower garlands. They lit incense and offered bananas in prayer while the curious foreign employees watched. At the end, a worker smashed a coconut and a pumpkin on the ground.

When the made-in-India iPhone 15s hit local stores on launch day, the moment sparked a wave of nationalist pride. “Proud and thrilled to own the MADE IN INDIA IPHONE 15.. #MakeInIndia,” actor Ranganathan Madhavan posted on X.

At the factory, Foxconn threw a party. While assembly line workers remained bent over their workstations to produce more phones, engineers and office staff ate cake and other snacks while executives thanked them for their hard work. “It was like launching a rocket,” Li said. “After all the research and preparation, we finally sent the rocket into the sky.”

Li is staying in India for now, though he’s unsure for how long. Both foreign and local workers said that having the Chinese engineers and managers in India would be necessary in the coming years to keep the factory operating efficiently, and to help it prepare for the iPhone 16 and beyond.

"If we didn’t come here, someone else would."
“[China’s] learnings are from 15 years of factory work, now we need to catch up,” said an Indian middle manager who oversees iPhone assembly lines at Foxconn. The Sunguvarchatram plant still assembled fewer than 10% of all iPhone 15s, according to people familiar with the matter. Foxconn makes the larger Plus and more advanced Pro models exclusively in China. Indian conglomerate Tata is also assembling a small number of iPhone 15s from a plant it acquired from Taiwanese manufacturer Wistron, the Economic Times reported.

Li said Chinese engineers sometimes talked about how they were working to make their own jobs obsolete: One day, Indians might get so good at making iPhones that Apple and other global brands could do without Chinese workers. Three managers said some Chinese employees aren’t willing teachers because they see their Indian colleagues as competition. But Li said that progress was inevitable. “If we didn’t come here, someone else would,” he said. “This is the tide of history. No one will be able to stop it.”

During the first week of October, the national holiday celebrating Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday fell on a Monday and created a rare two-day weekend for Foxconn employees. Li planned to visit the Taj Mahal. He would spend a good deal of the weekend in buses and airplanes, but figured it would be worth it — he wanted to have seen it before his time in India was up.

But a few days before he was due to leave, Li had to cancel. Management had announced that the factory needed to stay open to meet targets. Sunday would be a workday.
 

Haldilal

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Ya'll Nibbiars




 

thebakofbakchod

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Interesting article. It does have some racist undertones and highlights some of the challenges with manufacturing in India though, especially from a Chinese pov though it seems they like the somewhat laid back attitude that Indians have.
Inside Foxconn’s India iPhone factory expansion - Rest of World
There isnt much racist about this. Maybe a bit smug but it is the reality. You can find similar books/articles from China in the 1990s and 2000s by Western and Japanese investors giving very similar reasons. The good news is now there are at least 20000 workers who have been trained to be disciplined working in an assembly line. They can be rehired at different companies
 

Roshan

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There isnt much racist about this. Maybe a bit smug but it is the reality. You can find similar books/articles from China in the 1990s and 2000s by Western and Japanese investors giving very similar reasons. The good news is now there are at least 20000 workers who have been trained to be disciplined working in an assembly line. They can be rehired at different companies
Not the whole bit though I found the one about packing Diarrhea medication a bit racist. the part about food is something I suppose even Indians might feel if they go to China.
 

Ugra Bhairav

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There isnt much racist about this. Maybe a bit smug but it is the reality. You can find similar books/articles from China in the 1990s and 2000s by Western and Japanese investors giving very similar reasons. The good news is now there are at least 20000 workers who have been trained to be disciplined working in an assembly line. They can be rehired at different companies
All in all what China learned in 25-30 years i.e. form 1990 to 2020 these idiots want India & Indians to be proficient from day 1st.

Still Indians achieved the same proficiency in just few years.

They wont tell you how fast was the transition from whole skill level literally from 0 to 100 in proficiency.
 

thebakofbakchod

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All in all what China learned in 25-30 years i.e. form 1990 to 2020 these idiots want India & Indians to be proficient from day 1st.

Still Indians achieved the same proficiency in just few years.

They wont tell you how fast was the transition from whole skill level literally from 0 to 100 in proficiency.
Biggest mistake was blindly adopting the service model. If you go back to early economic threads on India back in the early 2000s, people were very confidently and arrogantly claiming we will end up in a better condition than them because we jumped straight to the tech economy. And we still have not reformed and broken up trade unions who are more interested in closing factories instead of seeking a compromise.
 

Haldilal

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Ya'll Nibbiars If still some one want to laugh be my guest, Pune is dangerous now.



Ya'll Nibbiars here's list ofvBus, heavy vehicles and three wheeler manufacturers who entered the EV segments at Pune, the sheer numbers even suprised me.

Commercial/Trucks/Bus etc

1 . Tata Motors.
2 . Force Motors. In process.
3 . Mahindra.
4 . Blue Energy Motors.
5 . Piaggio. Demo.
6 . EVfarm bus.
7 . EVfarm 4W.
8 . PMI Electro.
9 . Causis e mobility.
10 . Pinnacle e buses.

3 Wheelers.

1 . Bajaj.
2 . Piaggio ape.
3 . EDMRC Yuva/Meghdoot.
4 . Omega Seiki E mobility.
5 . Kinetic Electric 3 wheeler.
6 . EVfarm 3 wheeler.
7 . Greentech e shuttle.

4 Wheelers

1 . Tata Motors
2 . Mahindra
3 . Mercedes
4 . Volkswagen/Audi/Skoda planned/Porsche/Lamborghini.
5 . Jeep/Fiat planned.
6 . Gensol EV.
7 . Hyundai from erstwhile GM plant.
8 . EVfarm golf.
 

wildfrespo

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Ya'll Nibbiars here's list ofvBus, heavy vehicles and three wheeler manufacturers who entered the EV segments at Pune, the sheer numbers even suprised me.

Commercial/Trucks/Bus etc

1 . Tata Motors.
2 . Force Motors. In process.
3 . Mahindra.
4 . Blue Energy Motors.
5 . Piaggio. Demo.
6 . EVfarm bus.
7 . EVfarm 4W.
8 . PMI Electro.
9 . Causis e mobility.
10 . Pinnacle e buses.

3 Wheelers.

1 . Bajaj.
2 . Piaggio ape.
3 . EDMRC Yuva/Meghdoot.
4 . Omega Seiki E mobility.
5 . Kinetic Electric 3 wheeler.
6 . EVfarm 3 wheeler.
7 . Greentech e shuttle.

4 Wheelers

1 . Tata Motors
2 . Mahindra
3 . Mercedes
4 . Volkswagen/Audi/Skoda planned/Porsche/Lamborghini.
5 . Jeep/Fiat planned.
6 . Gensol EV.
7 . Hyundai from erstwhile GM plant.
8 . EVfarm golf.
Pune has everything except the Airport, public transport and driving sense. it is a city with a village mentality!
 

Haldilal

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Pune has everything except the Airport, public transport and driving sense. it is a city with a village mentality!
Ya'll Nibbiars Airport also taken to Baramati, and the Pune got Ghanta, but will get the HSR soon with the PNHSR and MHHSR about to be approved soon.
 

rockdog

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Interesting article. It does have some racist undertones and highlights some of the challenges with manufacturing in India though, especially from a Chinese pov though it seems they like the somewhat laid back attitude that Indians have.
Inside Foxconn’s India iPhone factory expansion - Rest of World
Good article, this is how Chinese manufactures took off 30 yrs ago, the Chinese workers had similar issues when Japanese, Taiwanese, American managers came to train them.

Currently, most CEOs of Chinese manufactures in IT field (mainly in Guangdong Province), have been workers from production lines. Some of them now are the vendors for Apple‘s supply chains.

Meet Zhou Qunfei, the factory worker who built a $19 billion lens company from scratch
 
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