A new Reuters report claims Apple will begin making their flagship iPhones in India for the first time. The report follows recent news that senior executives from Apple are scheduled to meet with Indian government officials next month.
The report says Foxconn will handle India-based iPhone manufacturing. Currently, Wistron is in charge of iPhone manufacturing in the country, making the iPhone SE and iPhone 6S locally.
Apple Inc will begin assembling its top-end iPhones in India through the local unit of Foxconn as early as 2019, the first time the Taiwanese contract manufacturer will have made the product in the country, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Importantly, Foxconn will be assembling the most expensive models, such as devices in the flagship iPhone X family, the source said, potentially taking Apple’s business in India to a new level.
One of the report’s sources is the government’s industries minister for the southern state of Tamil Nadu, where the iPhones would be made. Foxconn already has a presence in the state, with production lines for other products already in place. Foxconn is said to be spending around $356 million to expand their facilities to offer iPhone manufacturing. Two other unnamed sources are said to have confirmed the news.
Apple has a minute and shrinking share of the Indian smartphone market, and has so far focused on lower-end models such as the 6s and SE.
The report doesn’t specify which iPhone models will be made in India, saying only the devices would be in the “iPhone X family.” It also isn’t clear if the iPhones will all be made specifically for sale in India, or if the production will also be distributed in other areas of the globe.
Apple could be looking to finally hit the 30% locally made requirement that would allow them to get government clearance to open Apple Stores in the country.
However, U.S. President Donal Trump’s trade war with China could be spurring Apple to move iPhone manufacturing from China, in order to avoid U.S. import tariffs on Chinese-made goods, which could hit as high as 25%.