The world’s most valuable company Apple, and the Taiwanese original equipment manufacturer (OEM) maker for Apple “Wistron Corp”, has finally started assembling its low-priced iPhone SE handset at its contract manufacturer’s plant in Peenya, Bengaluru’s industrial hub, the company said in a statement. Apple Inc. on Wednesday said it is beginning initial production of a small number of iPhone SE handsets in India and will start shipping this product to domestic customers from this month. Local manufacturing is seen as an important move for Apple in order to sell more iPhone units in one of the world’s fastest growing mobile phone markets. Assembling phones in India can help lowering the costs with “Make in India” incentives and this move will help the company to lower the price of iPhone in India, compared to other parts of the world.
“We are beginning initial production of a small number of iPhone SE in Bengaluru,” Apple said in the statement, adding the phone would be available locally for sale this month.
India is the second largest smartphone market in the world after China. With sales slowing down in the major market China, Apple is now stepping up its efforts to grow its business strategy in India. According to a data from Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Technology Market Research showed that Apple sold 2.5 million iPhones in India from October 2015 to September 2016, a rise of more than 50 percent over the year-ago period. Apple India reported a profit of Rs 294 crore in the year ended 31 March 2016 on revenue of Rs9,997 crores. Its sales in the country crossed the $1 billion mark for the first time in 2015, highlighting the growing importance of this market, according to results filed with the registrar of companies.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has previously stated that smartphone shipments in India grew 18% last year, compared with just 3% globally, while Samsung maintains their business with 27% sales. In the last two years, many electronic manufacturers have establishing units in India, while Indian consumers currently buy mainly cheaper devices made by Samsung and Chinese brands such as Xiaomi, Oppo, Gionee etc. Apple CEO also confirmed that Apple is in discussions with the Indian government to set up official Apple-branded stores.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple will need to source 30% components locally and will need to decrease the iPhone price, as per the Indian law. The WSJ report adds that the ‘Made in India’ iPhone SE models could cost nearly $100 (approximately Rs 6,500) lower than the current $320 iPhone SE model.