Apple set to manufacture iPhones in India by June

Apple set to manufacture iPhones in India by June

Tim Cook and Narendra ModiAPAn assembly plant that Apple's Taiwanese manufacturing partner Wistron is setting up in Bengaluru will focus exclusively on assembling iPhones, a source familiar with the matter said on Friday.

The note came after Apple representatives, led by Cupertino-based Priya Balasubramaniam, VP iPhone operations, Dheeraj Chugh (Director, iphone operations), Ali Khanafer, senior manager - government affairs (India and Middle East) and Priyesh Povanna (Country Counsel) met with state ministers and officials of the Karnataka Government for what the note termed as "positive discussions about the initiatives in manufacturing" and possible collaborations with state Government in other areas.

"Apple's iPhones will be made in Bangalore and all devices will be targeted at the domestic market", said Kharge, IT minister for Karnataka, of which Bangalore is the capital.

In a statement, the government ofKarnataka said that the intentions of Apple to manufacture in Bengaluru will foster a cutting-edge technology ecosystem and supply chain development in the state, which is critical for India to compete globally.

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It applied to open Apple Stores in India previous year, but was reportedly rebuffed because of a diktat that states foreign retailers must source 30 percent of their products locally.

The company shipped 2.5 million iPhones into the country in 2016.

A source familiar with the matter told Reuters, however, that no deal, or memorandum of understanding had so far been finalized with the Karnataka government.

Joyce Chou, a spokeswoman for Wistron, said its Bengaluru plant is expected to begin producing smartphones some time in the first half of 2017. Joyce Chou declined to comment on whether it would be a captive iPhone assembly site.

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Under current laws, any Apple store that would open in India would have to contain at least 30% locally-manufactured products.

Apple would neither confirm nor deny the Indian official's remarks.

Hon Hai is believed to be assembling all of the larger iPhone 7 Plus units for Apple and 60 percent of the smaller iPhone 7 orders, while Pegatron is churning out the other 40 percent of the smaller iPhone 7s.

Any final decision on manufacturing in India is, however, likely to depend on the government's willingness to concede ground on the concessions Apple seeks.

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