The question of whether Apple will start manufacturing iPhones in India has come roaring back thanks to a new report. Two insiders with knowledge of the matter allege that the brand is asking Foxconn to examine the possibility of making its handsets in the country.
To recall, rumors of a locally-made iPhone first started circulating earlier this year amid news that Foxconn was setting up a plant in the nation worth $10 billion. A source told the Economic Times that the government had brought up the Make In India question to Apple CEO Tim Cook when he visited the subcontinent a few months ago.
Apple apparently began considering doing something long-term in India post this. A second source asserts that Foxconn could take up to 2 to 3 years to begin producing iPhones in the country. The first step will probably involve assembling the smartphones. However, no timeline has been set in stone as yet, so it might be awhile before iPhones with Make In India stamps on them start appearing.
The benefits of Apple manufacturing its devices in India would be many-fold. According to analysts, it could allow the brand to avail tax breaks, release offerings faster, and potentially make iPhones cheaper as well. The last could be brought about thanks to the differential duty structures for firms putting together handsets in the country.
This essentially translates to such products being cheaper than imports. Moreover, India could turn into an export hub for surrounding markets. The road to Make In India wouldn’t be simple though, since Apple’s plans would involve far higher investments in cutting-edge technology to make its premium smartphones than indigenous companies manufacturing in the nation.
Apple desperately needs to increase its sales in India amid a global slowdown in the US and China. It currently commands a 47% share in the premium sector and a paltry 2% share in the overall Indian market. Cook had previously gone on record declaring the country to be a place with great potential.