Apple manufacturing partner Wistron has started work producing iPhone SE models in India at its factory in Bangalore. The handsets are set to ship to customers later this month, most likely as soon as next week.
While no pricing has yet been announced, Apple is reportedly likely to charge significantly less than the $399 and $499 it sells the 32GB and 128GB iPhone SE models for in the United States. In an effort to grow its brand in India, pricing could be as low as $220.
Apple’s enthusiasm for growing its market penetration in India is well known. During Apple’s most recent earnings call, Tim Cook noted that, “We set a new March quarter record for India where revenue grew by strong double digits. We continue to strengthen our local presence across the entire ecosystem and we’re very optimistic about our future in this remarkable country with its very large young and tech-savvy population, fast growing economy and improving 4G infrastructure.”
According to figures from Kantar Worldpanel, smartphone penetration in India hit a 48 percent growth rate in the first quarter of 2017 — up from the 16 percent growth rate seen one year earlier. Despite the country’s 1.3 billion population, however, at present Apple only represents around 3 percent of handsets sold India.
Earlier this year it was reported that Apple manufacturer Wistron applied for fast-tracked approval to expand its factory in Bengaluru in order to build products for Apple. Other Apple manufacturers Foxconn and Pegatron are also looking to expand their manufacturing presence in India.
Should manufacturing of the iPhone SE prove to be a success in the country, it will be interesting to see if Apple will begin making its high-end flagship devices there in the future.