Apple manufacturer Wistron is reportedly putting the final touches on a deal that will allow it to secure another 100 acres of land in India’s tech hub of Bengaluru.
The $157 million facility will be used to start building iPhone 6s handsets in India. At present, Wistron only produces the iPhone SE in India, although it always planned to expand to other handsets after proving that Indian manufacturing was viable.
According to a Reuters report, some of Wistron’s global executives and its India head met with the industries minister of Karnataka earlier this month. A land lease deal on the 100 acres may be struck as soon as a few weeks.
The iPhone 6s iPhones, which launched back in 2015, would be a logical next choice for Indian manufacturing. They remain popular in the country because they are cheaper compared to some of the newer devices like the iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
Local assembly would help save on import taxes, which could allow Apple to sell its iPhones more cheaply in India to grow the market. Recently, the country increased import taxes on consumer electronics products, resulting in Apple raising the prices of all its iPhone models except for the smaller iPhone SE.
Growing its market in India
Despite Tim Cook talking about what an important market India is to Apple, growth in the country has been slow. While there have been relatively few roadblocks in initiatives like opening a new App Accelerator in Bengaluru, India to help teach coding, efforts like attempts to open a major Indian flagship retail store in the country have been far more difficult.
In the case of an Indian Apple Store, Apple has run into legal issues regarding local laws that require a certain proportion of Apple’s inventory to be produced locally.
Wistron started producing iPhone SE models in India last year. Along with Wistron, other Apple manufacturers Foxconn and Pegatron are also reportedly looking to expand their manufacturing presence in India.