Apple iPhone SE will be the first Apple iPhone that will be assembled in India: Report

By Karthekayan Iyer | Published on 17 Feb 2017
  • The wait for an iPhone that's 'Assembled in India' might just have got shorter. And, Apple apparently plans to start with the iPhone SE being assembled at Bengaluru via its partner Wistron.

Apple iPhone SE will be the first Apple iPhone that will be assembled in India: Report

Apple is reportedly planning to start India manufacturing with iPhone SE model. The company is looking at assembling handsets possibly in collaboration with Wistron, although Wistron denies the same. As reported by Economic Times, the Cupertino-based iPhone maker is planning to go ahead without waiting for government's view on tax concession.

Apple has been exploring options to start assembling iPhones locally in India for quite sometime. The company officials have met top bureaucrats in the past to discuss its plans and a report says Apple is seeking special tax exemption from the government. "It is Apple's first such venture in India...The demands they have made are for the larger plans of the company to really scale up manufacturing in India," a senior government official told ET under the condition of anonymity.

Apple announced the iPhone SE in March 2016 to appease users sticking to their 4-inch iPhone. The Apple iPhone SE comes with specifications similar to the company's 2015 flagship iPhone 6s, but the design matches that of the iPhone 5S from 2013. The Apple iPhone SE was announced in India for Rs 39,000 and is now retailing for under Rs 30,000. Apple currently enjoys a market share of less than 2 percent in India's growing smartphone space. The biggest limitation for Apple comes in the form of its premium pricing. By assembling iPhone SE in India, Apple will be able to get rid of the 10-12 percent tax levied on importing the device.

"While the immediate advantage would be the tax benefit of 10-12% if it is manufactured (here) compared with imports, it will also give Apple an edge in India, which is the fastest-growing large market, as opposed to slow growth in China," Navkendar Singh, senior research manager - client devices at IDC India told ET.

Apple is reportedly choosing iPhone SE over iPhone 5S, since the former is a more recent device. With iOS 10, Apple stopped the update cycle for iPhone 4S and the company is expected to stop supporting iPhone 5S sooner than later. The move to assemble 3-4 lakh units can be seen as Apple's first attempt at local manufacturing. The company is said to be working with partner Foxconn for a large scale setup in India.

Karthekayan Iyer

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