Apple has confirmed that it has begun initial production of a small number of iPhone SE handsets in Bangalore and will begin shipping the Indian-made devices to domestic customers this month.
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Apple has begun initial production of a small number of iPhone SE handsets in India. Wistron, a Taiwanese contract manufacturer for Apple Inc. has completed the trial run of assembling iPhones in India at its facility in Karnataka. Local assembling is seen as an important move for Apple in order to sell more iPhones in world's second largest smartphone market.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the first iPhone SE devices assembled in India could hit the store shelves as early as this week. It is not clear how much the device will cost, but government officials expect the price to get at least $100 cheaper. In a statement, Apple told WSJ, "it has begun initial production of a small number of iPhone SE handsets in Bangalore and will begin shipping the Indian-made devices to domestic customers this month."
A spokeswoman for Wistron said that the company doesn't comment on "market rumours or speculation."
Apple has been under tremendous pressure from Chinese smartphone makers and in its second quarter earnings, the company reported 14 percent decline of sales in Greater China. With sales dwindling in world's largest smartphone market, the company is looking to expand into other growing markets with India being its primary bet.
According to Kantar, Apple accounts for just 3 percent smartphone sales in India, while Samsung maintains the lead with 27 percent sales. Xiaomi and Vivo are tied for second place with 12 percent smartphone sales. Apple CEO Tim Cook has previously stated that his company underestimated the potential of Indian smartphone market and recently announced that sales grew 18 percent last year. He also confirmed that Apple is in discussions with the government to set up its own retail stores in India and has sought concessions on import duty.
Apple recently cut the cost of the iPhone 5s to Rs 15,000 and made it available exclusively for online retailers. The Cupertino-based iPhone maker has also cut the price of the iPhone SE to Rs 20,990 and is now being pitched as company's entry-level handset. It is not clear whether local assembling will help bring the cost further down, but Apple is known for consistent pricing globally and maintaining a control over gross margins.
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