Why Are Chinese Companies Encouraged To Shift Supply Chain Factories To India? – Analysis


Untill now foreign investors were encouraged or asked to shift from China. Japan launched incentives for Japanese investors to shift from China. The USA-China tiff discouraged American and European investors to stay in China. Now, western assemblers have encouraged Chinese supply chain companies to shift to India.  

Apple of USA is planning to increase its production in India, and it encourages its Chinese supply chain companies to shift to India. This raised grave concerns in China over western assemblers demand for Chinese supply chain suppliers shifting to India. According to Chinese Global times, this raised urgency for China to protect its critical supply chain capacity. 

Apple is expected to increase production of  iPhones to 50 million in the next 3-4 years in India. This will account for one-third of Apple’s global production, according to the Wall Street Journal. Production will increase tens of thousands with India emerging as the biggest users of smart phones and fast growing nation for  digitization.  

“ his is not the first time we’ve seen reports of Apple increasing iPhone production capacity in India. In fact, Apple is just one of the Western manufacturers that have moved capacity out of China amid Western calls for supply chain diversification, and India has been seen as a very promising candidate to become the next manufacturing powerhouse“, Global Times said.

Apple has pushed Chinese battery manufacturer, Desay ( Huizhou Desay Industrial Company), to establish new factories in India, according to the Financial Times. 

As a result, Chinese investment made a big jump in India. It increased five times in 2023. Till September, Chinese investment in India was US$41.98 million in 2023 , against US$9.91 million in the full year of 2022. 

The reason why western companies want their Chinese suppliers to shift to India lies with their dependence on critical component supply from China. Western companies may find some substitutes for common components in India, but it is difficult for them to find replacement for critical components in the beginning.

“India can be the bigger winner in the supply chain shift from China”, according to Nikkei Asia. It said, “When India and USA worked together on semiconductor and critical materials, it helps the world in making supply chain more diverse.”

The sustainable growth in GDP, larger pool of working population, improvement in the logistic performances and policy initiatives in manufacturing of new industries boost India’s capacity for supply chain manufacturing. 

Robust growth in GDP in the 2nd quarter of 2023-24 (July – September) and the structural changes in the growth parameters establish India’s capacity for larger stake for alternative supply chain. During the period, India pitched 7.4 percent GDP growth, with manufacturing taking a lead in triggering the growth. It increased by 13.9 percent during the quarter – the fastest ever growth since COVID.    

Simultaneously, with the rising GDP growth, India improved in the World Bank Logistic Performance Index – one of the key factors to attribute to supply chain growth. It jumped up by six points to 38 in 2023 from 44 out of 139 countries. In October 2021, India launched the Prime Minister Gati-Shakti National Mater Plan and in September 2022, it launched National Logistic Policy. In the Gati-shakti programme, India plans for making 200 new airports, heliports, water aerodromes to support aviation. Both gave emphasis on more efficient mode of  transportation, improve time spending by cargo at ports and airports.  

India emerged 2nd in Global Manufacturing  Risk Investment Index  in 2021, according to  Cushman & Wakefields. It has overtaken USA in manufacturing risk. According to Julie Gerdeman, the CEO of Everstream, supply chain risk management platform, “India has a large labour pool, a long history of manufacturing and government support for boosting industry and exports. Because of these, many are exploring whether India is viable alternative to China”.

A persuasive example for India to overtake China is the Japanese investor’s lean towards India. Even though India accounts for one-fourth of Japanese companies in China, Japanese companies in India performed better than China. According to a survey by JETRO, the number of Japanese companies making profits in India increased in 2022, in contrast to fall in number of Japanese companies in China making profits. The survey revealed that 71.9 percent of Japanese companies in India surveyed reported profits in 2022, against 64.9 percent Japanese companies surveyed made profits in China. These demonstrate the downturn of Japanese investors’ attraction in China. 

PLI scheme (Productivity Linked Investment) increased new hope for manufacturing growth in supply chain. Launched three years ago, it has drawn several success stories, which can be gauged to outnumber China.  

FDI soared in manufacturing. It increased by 76 percent in manufacturing sector in 2021-22 over 2020-21. It boomed in electronic and electrical equipments. In electronics, it increased by 172.2 percent and electrical equipment, it increased by 61.6 percent in 2022 over 2021.

Production of mobile phones made galloping growth. From merely US$3 billion in 2014-15, it increased  to US$44 billion in 2022-23. The export of mobile phones increased from US$0.26 billion in 2014-15  to US$11 billion in 2022-23. 

Is it not cynical while China desisted India to be the supply chain hub after India de-coupled from RCEP, that western assemblers are now encouraging Chinese supply chain factories to shift to India?

Subrata Majumder

Subrata Majumder is a former adviser to Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), New Delhi, and the author of “Exporting to Japan,” as well as various articles in Indian media, including Business Line, Echo of India, Indian Press Agency, and foreign media, such as Asia Times online and Eurasia Review .

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