Apple has been working with India over the past several months on plans to make iPhones in the country, and now it appears a location for manufacturing has been decided: Bengaluru. Formerly called Bangalore, Bengaluru is known as the ‘IT capital of India’ and serves as the home of Apple’s 40,000 square foot iOS app development accelerator office space.
Now Buzzfeed News reports that Priyank Kharge, the IT minister of Karnataka (which is a state in India), has told local media that Apple has proposed manufacturing in his state. Kharge tweeted about the development as well:
Glad to announce initial manufacturing operations of the world’s most valued company: Apple, in Karnataka. Another validation for Karnataka.
Apple’s intentions to make iPhones in Bengaluru will foster cutting-edge technology ecosystem & supply chain development in the state.
Apple did not confirm any agreement, however, and directed Buzzfeed News to a previous statement:
We’ve been working hard to develop our operations in India and are proud to deliver the best products and services in the world to our customers here. We appreciate the constructive and open dialogue we’ve had with government about further expanding our local operations.
Following a meeting between Apple executives and Indian government officials a week ago, one official was quoted as calling iPhone production in India ‘almost a done deal’ with Apple looking to bring retail stores to the country in exchange for making iPhones locally. Apple currently relies on third-party retail channels in India.
New job listings that emerged at the end of last year suggested that manufacturing in the country could start as soon as April, and a report last month claimed Wistron could be involved in manufacturing in addition to Foxconn.
For Apple, India could serve as a source for growth through iPhone sales. Meanwhile in the US, the new administration has mounted pressure on Apple to make iPhones in the United States, which some have argued would not be economical.