The manufacturer is seeking to reduce its dependence on China in a context where Sino-American tensions are intensifying Apple makes flagshi...
Apple makes flagship iPhone 11 at Foxconn plant in India
In what could amount to a major victory for the Aatamnirbhar government initiative in India, Apple has begun assembling one of its flagship devices, the iPhone 11, at the Foxconn factory near Chennai. This is the first time Apple has asked an assembly partner to produce the current generation iPhone model in India. It was through a tweet published Friday that the Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal relayed the announcement of a local daily newspaper.
A small batch of locally assembled iPhone 11 has already been shipped to retail stores, but production output is currently limited. Production will be stepped up in stages, and Apple may consider exporting the "made in India" iPhone 11. Local production of current iPhone 11 models illustrates Apple's additional commitment to India, the world's second largest smartphone market, as it explores ways to reduce its dependence on China, which produces the vast majority of today's iPhone models.
However, the company has not reduced its prices in the country, as it also sells Chinese-made iPhone 11 phones in India, but industry leaders have said this may be an option in the future. Local production allows Apple to save 22 percent of the import duties that the Indian government levies on imported electronics products.
Wistron, one of Apple's contract manufacturing partners based in Taiwan, began assembling older iPhone models in 2017. But so far, Apple has not been able to ask an assembly partner to produce the current generation iPhone model in India. Wistron, which has locally assembled older models of the iPhone SE, iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 in the past at its Bangalore plant, is currently assembling iPhone XRs in India.
Xiaomi, Vivo, Samsung, Oppo, OnePlus and a range of other smartphone companies have signed agreements with contract manufacturers across India in recent years to produce many of their smartphones sold locally in the country itself. Xiaomi, which has been India's leading smartphone supplier since the end of 2018, said earlier this month that almost all smartphones sold in India are produced in the country.
Apple has been exploring ways to increase production in India for years, but the company is struggling to find contract manufacturers that meet its safety and quality standards, according to people familiar with the subject.
The Information reported in March that some of Apple's other subcontractors have tried to enter (or expand) India, but have encountered regulatory and local legal problems. Pegatron, another Apple assembly partner, plans to establish a local subsidiary in India and begin operations in the country.
Foxconn, which counts India as one of its largest markets, plans to invest $1 billion in its operations in the country, Reuters reported earlier this month. In June this year, New Delhi announced a $6.6 billion plan to attract major smartphone manufacturers.
Apple plans to launch its online store in India in a few months and open its first physical retail store next year, announced managing director Tim Cook earlier this year. The launch of the online store in India remains on track despite the pandemic, said someone close to the case.
The iPhone manufacturer currently controls about 1 percent of the smartphone market in India, but is among the companies that dominate the high-end phone segment. Apple has also been the least affected smartphone manufacturer in the country in the context of the coronavirus pandemic. The decision also helps to expand Apple's production base beyond China, as tensions are rising between China and the US, one executive said.
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