Wistron, the contract manufacturer for Apple in India, has received approval for a Rs 5,000 crore plan to make high-end Apple devices in the country. The approval from the IT ministry is seen as a big push to government’s Make in India initiative. The Taiwanese contract manufacturer already makes Apple’s cheaper iPhone models like the iPhone SE at an assembly unit in Bengaluru and with the nod, it will expand to build newer and expensive models as well.
“We have just approved Wistron’s Rs 5,091-crore application and it is with the Cabinet now… Wistron will make the latest iPhone models,” IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told The Economic Times in an interview. He also confirmed that Foxconn, another contract manufacturer submitted an application for a Rs 2,500-crore project on December 31. The government says it is not perturbed by the additional incentives offered by China, which aims to be the leader in electronics manufacturing but Prasad points out that India has significant advantages in comparison.
“Openness of India’s democratic polity, where creativity is recognised and respected, adds its own incentive. We gave little incentive and you saw how many people came,” he told the newspaper.
Prasad says India as an electronics manufacturing hub holds an advantage in three areas – a burgeoning workforce, English fluency, skilled workers in plenty. The fact that India remains the fastest growing smartphone market in the world makes the country lucrative to both smartphone makers and contract manufacturers. He also adds that government’s recent announcement around software products policy will lead to creation of world-class companies born in the country.
The minister also announced that the “government will lend full support to software product makers, including protection of intellectual property rights (IPR)”. “India is known for its software services—we want it to become a big hub for products,” he said. “The policy aims to create Indian Googles and Facebooks.”
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He also revealed that the government will source software products from these Indian companies and has even set up a fund worth Rs 5,000 crore to support development. Alongside the plans for local manufacturing and software products policy, Prasad also expects platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to abide by the Election Commission’s diktat on campaigning being halted 48 hours before the polling starts.
“I would expect social media platforms to give due consideration and respect to the wish and the mandate of the Election Commission,” he said. “There will have to be technological solutions to address these concerns over fairness of election campaign and the onus is on the social media platforms… As these social media platforms respect the (legislative) institutions of America, Indian parliamentary institutions are also to be respected.”