Image: Getty Images
Even as the Indian government refuses to entertain most of Apple’s demands, the Cupertino-based company will soon take a major step that could bolster its business in the nation.
Mashable reported last month that Apple intends to start manufacturing in India by as early as late April, starting with last year’s iPhone SE model for the first several months.
It appears, Apple has since chalked out bigger plans.
The company will also be assembling the iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6s models in the nation, reports WSJ, citing a government official.
Unlike in China, where Apple relies on domestic firm Foxconn, the company’s work in India will be led by Taiwanese manufacturer Wistron for the assembly task in India. The manufacturing will begin in "four to six" weeks, the report added.
"Almost all preparations have been done for launching Apple’s first phase project in Bangalore through Wistron," a government official was quoted as saying.
It’s a big move for Apple, which sees "huge potential" in India. The iPhone models the company assembles at its India factory will not be subjected to local import duties.
This is big, given that heavy import duty imposed on iPhones makes the smartphone especially expensive in India.
The locally-assembled iPhones will allow Apple to sell to Indians at much cheaper price points.
Apple has been exploring the opportunity to expand in India for quite some time now. The company last year wanted to sell refurbished iPhones. This would have allowed Apple to sell some iPhones at much lower price points. The Indian government rejected the proposal, however.
Last year, the company expressed its intentions to manufacture locally. However, the company wanted the Indian government to offer it a range of other things including duty exemption for 15 years, something Indian officials found "unprecedented." Earlier this week, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman told Rajya Sabha (Council of States) that the ministry has said "no" to "most" of them.