Indians can look forward to a reasonably priced iPhone.
Apple Inc. (AAPL) will start assembling iPhone SE models in the coming months at a contract manufacturer's plant in Bengaluru, according to an industry source speaking with Reuters. The tech giant is looking to manufacture in India and it was reported in January that it has picked Wistron Corp to be its first manufacturer in the region. Apple has also indicated that it plans to open retail stores in the country.
"We've been working hard to develop our operations in India. We appreciate the constructive and open dialogue we've had with government about further expanding our local operations," the tech giant said in a statement after its executives visited India last month. An official speaking to the Wall Street Journal had said "it's almost a done deal" and that Apple is requesting tax and tariff exemptions, which the official called "workable."
India is the world’s second largest smartphone market and Apple currently controls only 2% of it. Apple iPhones are exorbitantly priced in India due to customs duties levied against imported products. The Indian government has also denied Apple permission to sell refurbished phones in the country. Most tech brands successful in India, like Samsung or Lenovo, manufacture their goods locally. (See also: Apple iPhones Sold in India Are 40% More Expensive)
With demand in China slowing down, the company has turned its focus to India – its fastest-growing market, according to CEO Tim Cook. Cook has also looked forward to the the rollout of 4G internet networks in India. He said in October to The Wall Street Journal, “Looking ahead, we’re seeing some very exciting developments in India. Reliance Jio is rolling out a a first of its kind all-IP network in India with 4G coverage in 18,000 cities and 200,000 villages across the country. They’re offering a free year of service to purchasers of new iPhones and we’re partnering with them to ensure great iPhone performance on their network,” he said. (See also: India's Reliance Industries Unveils Affordable Data Plan)