Bengaluru iPhone unit launch hinges on Centre's sops to Silicon Valley giant

For India, Wistron a Taiwanese company will make iPhones.

The production of iPhones in the country reveals that Apple has a renewed focus on India, which has claimed the title as the fastest-growing market for smartphones in the world.

The government of the Indian state of Karnataka said on Thursday it welcomed Apple's proposal to begin initial manufacturing operations in tech hub Bengaluru, its state capital, hinting it is moving forward with plans to assemble iPhones in India. "Apple's iPhones will be made in Bangalore and all devices will be targeted at the domestic market", said Priyank Kharge, Karnataka's information technology minister, according to Bloomberg.

Apple has been looking to bolster its presence in India for some time now, with company executives engaging the government at the highest levels.

Apple leadership has hinted that India is a major growth market for the company, although estimates suggest it only sold 2.5 million iPhones in the entire country in 2016.

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Apple iPhones, which are now sold in India, are priced higher than other worldwide markets as the government imposes customs duty (around 12.5 percent on MRP) on imported consumer electronics goods.

A regional minister has stated that Apple will begin manufacturing its iPhone lineup in India starting this spring.

Karnataka, which got 13th place in the ease-of-doing-business survey past year, is leaving no stone unturned to make the Apple project a reality both for its snob value, and to silence criticism that Bengaluru is crumbling due to its traffic and infrastructure issues. It will bring down the price of iPhones in India.

Apple in terms of manufacture has demanded a 15 year tax holiday from the government to start the manufacturing process, which is still being negotiated. This is in order to let the company establish an iPhone production facility in India, although it is not clear if Apple has been granted this by the government of India. This could allow Apple to open its own exclusive stores in India; now Apple-branded stores in India are run in partnership with other retailers. "We are in discussions on a number of things, including retail stores, and fully intend to invest significantly in the country".

  • Douglas Reid