Apple is slowly stepping up its retail distribution chain in India after it started assembling and shipping the 4-inch iPhone SE models. The Cupertino based company signed a deal with HCL Infosystems for distributing Apple iPhone and other Apple devices in India, according to HCL’s filings with the BSE. As of now, Apple has retail distribution tie ups with Beetel Teletech, Rashi Peripheral, Redington and Ingram Micro, PTI reported. The Redington deal, however, dates back to 2012.

In June this year, Apple confirmed that it is manufacturing iPhone SE models domestically through a tie up with Wistron, a Taiwan based Orginal Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). Wistron has a manufacturing plant in Peenya, Bangalore. The company was selling iPhone SE (32GB) for an MRP price of Rs 27,200. Apart from this, it has telco tie ups with Airtel, Reliance Jio and Vodafone.

Apple has been concentrating on the Indian market since early 2016, when the government had relaxed mandatory 30% local sourcing norms for foreign companies looking to open single-brand retail in India. The exemption was however given only to what the government termed as “state-of-art and cutting edge” technology products. Apple subsequently tried to gain the “state of the art” status in May last year, but it is not clear if this worked in the company’s favour. Earlier this year in April, Apple demanded tax exemptions to set up a manufacturing unit in India, including a 15-year exemption from customs duty, but these requests were put on hold.

Another catalyst for companies like Apple, Samsung, Xiaomi, OnePlus came when, the government of India abolished Foreign Investments Promotion Board (FIPB), a fast-track unit set up by the govt to look into FDI proposals. Note that the Indian smartphone market is currently led by Apple’s rival Samsung and by mid-range Chinese smartphone brands. The company claimed in March quarter that it doubled its iPhone sales numbers in India due to “improving 4G network infrastructure.”

41 million iPhones sold globally in Q3 2017

During the quarter ended June 2017, Apple sold 41.02 million iPhones globally, which is down by 19% when compared to 50.76 million units in the previous quarter.  iPhone sales generated revenues of $24.84 billion in Q3 2017, up marginally by 3% from $24.04 billion a year ago. On a QoQ basis, iPhone sales were down by 25% from $33.24 billion.  Average Selling Price (ASP) of an iPhone was at $606 during the quarter, up from $595 a year ago.