Apple will start assembling iPhones in Bangalore, India by the end of April, according to Karnataka state IT minister Priyank Kharge, reports Bloomberg. According to the Kharge, Apple executives met with him in January and confirmed the development.
Note that in the budget this week, the finance minister announced a Rs 745 crore incentive for electronic manufacturing in the country through Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (M-SIPS) and Electronic Development Fund (EDF). We said then that such incentives or electronics manufacturing will provide an additional stimulant to smartphone manufacturers, especially foreign makers like Apple and Xiaomi who are subject to mandatory local production.
Interestingly, the minister further mentioned that all devices made in the country will be targeted at the domestic market, and that it would help the company find additional or other contract manufacturers in the region. Currently, Apple has tied up with Taiwan’s Wistron Corp to assemble the phones. Note that in 2015, Wistron had setup a mobile manufacturing unit in Noida for Optiemus Infracom, the founder of the domestic mobile brand Zen Mobile.
It has been long rumoured that the Cupertino-headquartered company is looking to set up a base in India for manufacturing iPhones and other devices. In 2015, it was reported that Foxconn was sending a delegation of officers to look for locations to set up a base for Apple. However, it looks like this didn’t quite work out.
Apple retail: Apple has been asking the Indian government to relax FDI in retail norms for opening its own stores, since early 2014. In July last year, Tim Cook said that “India is now one of our fastest growing markets…We’re looking forward to opening retail stores in India down the road.” The recent budget did announce a new roadmap for foreign direct investments (FDI), which could be tweaked, removed or at least reduced, although this remains to be seen.