Representing a significant milestone, some Apple iPhones manufactured in India are now being exported to countries in Europe for sale, via The Economic Times.
Initially, Apple set up iPhone manufacturing in India to avoid import taxes and allow the company to be more price-competitive in the Indian smartphone market, which is seen as a potential growth opportunity over the next few years.
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Advancing from local sales to exports is a big step in terms of solidifying India as a manufacturing base. At least right now, though, the size of exports is still low.
The Economic Times cites an analyst claiming that total iPhone 6 and iPhone 7 models exported from India are below 100,000 units a month. Seeing as Apple sells millions of iPhones a week globally, the scale of the current India export operations is still diminutive.
Nevertheless, the Indian government will likely be pleased with the move. The administration has been hoping to encourage companies to build high-technology items in the region to advance its local economies.
The news comes as Apple looks for ways to diversify its supply chain beyond China as the US-China trade war rages on. In June, Nikkei reported that Apple is the early stages of restructuring supply chain operations with an eye to move 15-30% of production outside of China in the next few years.
Later this year, Apple is rumored to have asked its manufacturing partners to produce new iPhone models, iPhone 11, in India. This would be the first time local partners would be making the latest-generation models.
The Economic Times report says production of iPhone 11 from Foxconn in India could reach 250,000 units per month, with about 75% of that number due to be exported to other markets.