Apple will meet with Indian official to talk iPhone manufacturing

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Apple could ramp up iPhone manufacturing in India in the near future.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple suppliers are already producing a limited number of iPhones in India, but Apple could be looking to ramp up this investment in the near future.

According to a new report, India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu is set to meet with Apple execs at next month’s Davos conference to talk manufacturing.

In a comment published today, Prabhu said that, “Negotiations are ongoing.” Prabhu also said that the Indian government is enthusiastic about Apple setting up new offices in the country. Additionally, he noted that India is willing to “look into” the tax concessions Apple would seek for this kind of move.

A few things jump out about the report. One is that it suggests a possible shift in India’s approach to concessions. Apple has previously sought concessions including duty exemption on devices and equipment for 15 years, and relaxed rules about local sourcing of components. It seems that these issues, which caused problems in the past, may now have changed — or, at least that Prabhu thinks Apple’s approach may have altered.

“When their offer came two-three years back and today, the situation has changed for them as well as for us,” Prabhu said. “So, it is a good time to meet and discuss and finalize.”

The other interesting part of the story is that it suggests that Apple could potentially be looking to open its own facilities. Right now, the iPhone production in India is done through third-party companies. It also has to sell its products through third-party stores since there are no Apple Stores in the country.

The iPhone in India

India, which has a population of around 1.339 billion, is one of the fastest growing mobile markets after China and the U.S. However, it’s one that Apple has struggled to crack. During the first half of 2018, Apple supposedly sold fewer than 1 million iPhones in the country.

To try and turn around this business, Apple recently hired the former Chief Customer Operations Officer at Nokia Networks to head up its India operations department.

Source: Economic Times