Apple plans to start its Indian manufacturing plant set up by Wistron by assembling 3-4 lakh units of the iPhone SE. The company will not be waiting for the Indian government’s final approval on its list of concessions before starting with the production.
The company is taking this step as it wants to “experience manufacturing in India” as per a person familiar with the matter. However, Apple will wait for the government’s final nod before starting with large scale assembly operations at its Karnataka plant. Apple has asked for a 15-year tax holiday and other incentives from the Indian government for starting iPhone manufacturing on a large scale in the country.
“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 ET, requesting anonymity.
Wistron, the contractor and manufacturing partner setting up the plant for Apple in India, will have the factory ready for assembling phones from April.
An immediate benefit of Apple starting iPhone SE assembly in India will be a tax saving of 10-12 percent. It remains to be seen, though, if Apple will pass on the full benefit to Indian consumers or not. Locally manufacturing iPhones in India will allow Apple to save on duties that can allow the company to better price its handsets in the country. For now, despite selling a record 2.5 million iPhones in India last year, Apple has very little presence in the fastest growing smartphone market in the world due to the high prices of its products. Apple wanted to sell refurbished iPhones in India in a bid to cater to a wider audience, but its request was turned down by the Indian government.
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