Apple confirmed local manufacturing of iPhone 7 in India early this month. While reports emerged soon after that the company has commenced trial runs for iPhone X local production, a new report claims that the iPhone X will be made in India starting from July of 2019. With its share declining in the world’s fastest growing smartphone market, Apple is reportedly looking to turn India into a hub for manufacturing and export iPhone models to global markets. Apple currently assembles the iPhone SE, iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 locally in India via contract manufacturer Wistron, but iPhone X will be assembled locally by Foxconn.
“Foxconn will begin with the iPhone X (range) from the Chennai plant. The plans are to step up production capacity and diversify to even higher models going forward,” an official privy to the company’s plans told Economic Times on conditions of anonymity. The local manufacturing of iPhone X, however, is not expected to result in any price cut. Apple is also expected to look at sustained increase in manufacturing depending on the incentive offered by next government.
Apple began its local manufacturing journey in India with iPhone SE. The Cupertino-based iPhone maker partnered Taiwanese contract manufacturer to build iPhone locally at Wistron’s facility in Bengaluru two years ago. Since then, Apple has expanded to build both iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 locally in India, giving a big boost to the Make in India initiative. The new report indicates that Apple will stick with Wistron for assembly of older iPhone models while Foxconn will build newer model like the iPhone X.
With smartphone sales declining for the 14th straight quarter in the US and China showing signs of decline as well, Apple is looking to build momentum in India. However, the company is struggling due to lack of ecosystem of Apple products and availability of cheaper but capable Android smartphones from Chinese companies. With local manufacturing, Apple is hoping to make iPhones a bit more affordable for Indian consumers and also turn India into an export hub similar to China.
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Wistron begin assembling iPhone 7 in India after getting a nod from government for a Rs 5,000 crore proposal. Similarly, Foxconn had signed an agreement with the Tamil Nadu government for manufacturing of premium smartphones during the Global Investors Meet in January. A price cut is anticipated in certain iPhone models but Apple is expected to drop the price of older models to maintain margin on premium models.