India next country to make iPhones after China, Brazil — report

In Phones by Alora Uy GuerreroLeave a Comment

THE Apple iPhone may be designed in the U.S., but most of the units that you see on the market are manufactured in China. Only a small percentage of them are assembled in Brazil. However, a recent report by Times of India, if true, could bring the number of countries making the device to three.

According to TOI‘s sources at Apple, the company is “serious about beginning assembly operations — and thereafter full manufacture — in India by the end of next year.” In fact, it is said to have already partnered with Taiwanese original equipment manufacturer Wistron. The OEM is reportedly building a facility in Bangalore, officially known as Bengaluru and often called the Silicon Valley of India. The plant should be ready to start production from April 2017.

We had thought that Foxconn, which already has facilities in the country, would be tasked to do the job. After all, it is Apple’s largest OEM. But it seems that Foxconn is tied up with manufacturers such as Xiaomi and OnePlus in India. That may have pushed Apple to put its business elsewhere.

This development is widely believed to help lower down the cost of the iPhone there. The government currently slaps a high import tax of 12.5 percent on the device, as with other finished items brought into the country. This is in line with its Make in India initiative, launched in September 2014 to transform the place into a global design and manufacturing hub.

The reported production of iPhones in India starting April 2017 could help lower down the cost of the device there. The government currently slaps a high import tax of 12.5 percent on the iPhone, as with other finished items brought into the country. 

But will that really result in lower prices? If India can create a local supply chain that’s on a par with international standards, yes — and that’s highly likely because China has done it. Otherwise, it will just be another Brazil, where the cheapest Apple iPhone 7 retails at 3,499 Brazil real or close to $1,100 (about P53,300 in the Philippines). Absurd, considering the base model sells for only $649 in the U.S. (and P37,990 in the Philippines).

Lower costs in the fastest-growing smartphone market in the world could do wonders for Apple’s bottom line. Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Technology Market Research reported that the tech giant sold 2.5 million iPhones in India from October 2015 to September 2016. That’s an increase of more than 50 percent from the previous period. The local unit’s net profit also soared to 21 percent. So it would be interesting to see how everything will pan it out for Apple from now on.

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Alora Uy Guerrero

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Editor-in-chief: Alora Uy Guerrero has 22 years of experience as an editor for print and digital publications such as Yahoo. She took time off journalism to manage OPPO’s digital-marketing campaigns. When not busy with her babies, she’s working on Revü, a passion project — or probably traveling or obsessing over her favorite bands, movies, TV shows, and basketball teams.