Bengaluru: Apple plans to make iPhones for the Indian market in Bengaluru. Wistron, a Taiwanese OEM maker for Apple, is setting up a facility in Peenya, the city’s industrial hub, to manufacture the iPhones. The facility will start production from next April, according to industry sources.
Top sources in the company confirmed to TOI that Apple is “very serious” about beginning assembly operations —and thereafter full manufacture — in India by the end of next year. “Bangalore is being looked at seriously,” said multiple sources within the company. Local manufacture will help Apple price its phones competitively as full imports attract 12.5% additional duty.
Foxconn, Apple’s largest Taiwan-based OEM, earlier committed to setting up a manufacturing plant in Maharashtra. The assumption was the plant would make only Apple products. But sources say Foxconn has tied up with other players like Xiaomi and OnePlus for local manufacture and not necessarily to only make Apple products there.
This will be Apple’s second big announcement for Bengaluru. In May, Apple announced a design and development accelerator in the city to grow the iOS developer community and also to guide Indian developers to leverage Apple’s programming language Swift and build apps for Apple TV and Apple Watch. The facility will open early next year.
The Bengaluru manufacturing facility underscores India’s importance for the Cupertino-based company. Apple CEO Tim Cook’s multi-city India tour earlier this year signalled the growing importance of India powered by the demand for Apple products by a burgeoning middle class. 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% over the year-ago period.
The revenue numbers speak for themselves. Apple India clocked robust sales touching Rs 9,997 crore in the 2016 financial year, up 56% from Rs 6,472 crore, previously. The company’s net profit grew 21% to Rs 294 crore during the same period with deeper retail penetration and lower prices for older iPhone models that garnered a huge user base. An email sent to Apple didn’t elicit a response till the time of going to press.
Apple has published job openings on its portal for a few positions at its OEM’s factory in Bengaluru like operations program manager and product quality manager. Faisal Kawoosa, principal analyst (telecom) at CyberMedia Research, said, “Apple coming to India is a big booster for the make in India initiative.”