pegatron: Pegatron halts iPhone assembly at India plant after fire

Taiwan’s Pegatron halted production of iPhones at its factory in Chennai on Monday, a day after a “minor” fire at the facility, a company spokesperson and government officials said.

“The fire started around 8:20 PM on Sunday and took place on the first floor of the factory in one of the halls. The source of the fire was a mobile charging rack where the phones that are manufactured are tested to see if they are working and whether they are able to be charged,” a government official told ET, asking not to be named.

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The official added that there was no production on the day of the fire, being a Sunday, and 29 maintenance staff who were inside the factory escaped after the fire broke out. The fire was contained by 9:50 PM.

The factory is currently being examined by fire safety officials. A person close to the development confirmed that production at the factory has been halted due to the investigation with no timeline on resumption.

“At the company’s factory in Chennai, India, on the evening of the 24th local time, there was a spark incident, which is currently under control,” a spokesperson for Pegatron said in a statement.

“There are no injuries, no casualties, nor damage to other assets. The cause of the accident is currently under investigation by relevant authorities, and the incident does not have significant financial or operational impact to Pegatron Corporation,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

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Pegatron was the third contract manufacturer to assemble iPhones in India after Taiwan’s Foxconn and Wistron. All three have been cleared to receive incentives under the government’s production linked incentive (PLI) scheme for smartphones. Pegatron’s Chennai factory, which began operations in 2022, accounts for about a tenth of the total production of iPhones in India, according to Counterpoint Research.Earlier this year, Apple supplier Foxlink India Electric, which has a factory in Andhra Pradesh, also faced a fire incident which engulfed the entire facility, disrupting operations. Foxlink makes power cables for iPhones in India.

Pegatron currently makes the iPhone 14, iPhone 13 and older models, meant for local consumption in India as well as for exports.

The company started operations with making the iPhone 12 in 2022, expanding to the iPhone 14 just weeks after the handset’s global unveiling in September last year.

Apple’s expansion of manufacturing in India comes amid geopolitical tensions between the US and China, with New Delhi positioning itself as an alternative to China.

Ever since, India has become the second largest maker of iPhones, accounting for 5% of the total iPhone production globally. iPhone exports from India have also been rising, crossing $5 billion in FY23, making Apple the first brand to cross the export milestone in the country.

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