Apple has long been working to establish a presence in India, but the country’s strict requirements for retailers and companies have made it a very challenging task for Apple. Whether or not Apple will be legally allowed to open retail locations in contradicted by several reports, but the long-standing roadblock has been that Apple does not have a manufacturing presence in the country.
India has generally required that any company with retail locations manufacture a portion of the goods in the country, though it has been reported in the past that Apple could circumvent that requirement. A new report from The Economic Times, however, says that Apple has approached Foxconn about possibility of making the iPhone in India in the next two to three years.
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This isn’t the first we’ve heard of Foxconn’s alleged plans for India. It was reported earlier this year that Foxconn was set to open a $10 billion manufacturing plant in India, but nothing has since been said about that report. Today’s report adds, however, that Apple itself has approached Foxconn about the idea of manufacturing the iPhone in India.
Apple has sounded out one of its largest contract manufacturing partners, Foxconn Technology Group, to look at the possibility of making the iPhone in India in the next two to three years, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.
“There’s definitely interest,” said one of the two cited above. “When Tim Cook was here, the government raised the issue of making in India. It is after that Apple started thinking of doing something in India which is long term.”
In addition to the retail and political benefits of manufacturing the iPhone in India, Apple reportedly is considering a handful of other positives, as well. For one, the Indian market, on which Apple has been very focused over recent years, would be able to receive the latest iPhone models in a timely fashion.
Price is also an important factor for Indian customers and should Apple begin to manufacture the iPhone in India, prices would get noticeably cheaper for customers. This is due to import taxes that are currently applied to the price of iPhones in the country. Because of this, iPhones made in India would theoretically be priced at a cheaper point than devices made by companies in other countries.
As cellular service continues to expand throughout India, the market represents a huge area of potential growth for Apple and setting up retail stores would greatly help its efforts. While nothing is official yet, it’s believed that Apple will soon receive the final go-ahead for establishing a retail presence in India soon.