Yes, Apple is going to start “manufacturing” iPhones in India this spring. But before you get your hopes up too high about iPhones getting cheaper to buy, read this.
Apple will only assemble the 4-inch iPhone SE in India, at a facility on the outskirts of Bangalore. There are no plans at the moment to manufacture the latest iPhones proper. “The [SE] assembly should start by April or so,” a source told Mashable India.
Apple’s partner Wistron’s manufacturing facility in Peenya is only going to assemble the smartphones, with no actual “manufacturing” taking place. This is just the first step for Apple’s plans for India, sources tell Mashable.
The news of Apple getting the green light to start its manufacturing in India came out late last night after the IT Minister for the state of Karnataka, Priyank Kharge, revealed details about Apple’s manufacturing in a chest thumping manner, citing how his state beat other states that were also vying to get Apple’s business.
“Make in India” is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project, which incentivizes companies to set up their manufacturing base in the country rather than importing goods. The state of Karnataka, where Apple’s iPhones will be assembled, is ruled by rival Congress party and is seen as a major win in political circles.
The present assembly plans are separate from Apple’s discussion with the Indian government.
The present assembly plans are separate from Apple’s discussion with the Indian government, with which it sought wide-ranging benefits in order to start manufacturing in the country. Apple executives met government officials last week, when they discussed some long-term clarity and concessions to enable the component manufacturer ecosystem to set up base in India and eventually pave the way for meaningful manufacturing.
“Manufacturing is a term used loosely,” the source said.
This is just the beginning, of sorts, for Apple in India The company saw record sales and double digit growth in the country last year. The iPhone maker is planning to launch its Indian retail stores sometime this year. Tim Cook called India a “a great place to be” during Apple’s quarterly earnings call earlier this week.
After the iPhone SE assembly takes off, Apple would be looking at setting up its own retail stores and eventually look at its own online store as well. Current Indian laws prohibit companies like Apple from operating their own online retail stores. To bypass that, Apple partnered with Flipkart during the iPhone 7 launch to avoid the sort of heavy discounting that happened with the iPhone 6 as online retailers like Flipkart, Amazon India and Paytm fought to gain customers.