The Economic Times on Friday reported Apple will begin assembling the entry-level iPhone SE handset in India, likely starting production sometime in April.
The Cupertino-based tech giant is likely to go ahead with the Bengaluru assembly plan without waiting for the government’s nod for the list of tax concessions that it had sought along with other demands. The company wants to “experience manufacturing in India”, a person familiar with the company’s plans told ET.
“It is Apple’s first such venture in India… The demands they have made are for the larger plans of the company to really scale up manufacturing in India,” a senior government official told the Times, requesting anonymity.
A Times source in the contract manufacturing industry told the publication Wistron is ready to start assembling the phones. “The duty concessions are not connected to the plant,” the person added. Wistron’s facility is set to begin assembling locally from April.
iPhone SE Production Goal 300,000 to 400,000 Units
The Times, referencing the ever-popular “sources familiar with Apple’s plans,” says the Cupertino firm will begin manufacturing the entry-level iPhone SE at a plant in Bengaluru, with an output goal of 300,000 to 400,000 units. Apple is producing the handsets in India to improve their chances of getting a toehold in the country’s growing smartphone market.
The iPhone maker has been in talks with the Indian government, seeking tax breaks and lower duty rates in return for bringing a share of its manufacturing operations to the country. The initial iPhone SE production is said to be not contingent on the outcome of those discussions.
Also on Friday, a Reuters report seemingly jibes with the Economic Times report.
Local Production Would Lower Apple Retail Prices
By producing the iPhone SE in India, Apple can expect to avoid punitive import duties, allowing it to reduce the retail price of its entry-level handset in the country. The price drop could increase demand for the device, giving Apple a larger share of the Indian smartphone market.
Local production of the iPhone SE could also help the firm meet the country’s “local sourcing” requirements for allowing it to create a retail distribution network. As it stands, Apple is not allowed to open physical retail locations in the country and is instead forced to rely on locally-owned authorized dealers.