What has been widely speculated and hugely anticipated for quite some time now, is finally official. According to a release (via TOI) issued by the Karnataka Government, Apple has officially proposed to the Government, plans to start initial manufacturing operations from Bengaluru. The Govt. of course, has welcomed the proposal.
The issued release, signed by Karnataka’s dynamic IT minister Priyank Kharge, mentions that Apple’s intentions to manufacture in Bengaluru “will foster cutting edge technology ecosystem and supply chain development in the state, which are critical for India to compete globally.”
There’s no mention of a timeline, however previous reports have suggested that the initial operations could begin as soon as June this year. We’ve contacted Apple India for the specifics, and would update the story as soon as we receive a response.
To the awareness of most of us, Apple is currently manufacturing almost its entire product range in China, while designing happens in the US in California. To start manufacturing in India, Taiwan-based OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Wistron will make the iPhones out of its facility in the city’s industrial hub of Peenya. Wistron was selected by Apple in January, as the first major supplier in India for this years.
While that was one part of the story, there are multiple reports coming in — including one from Taiwan-based Digitimes — that the production might include Apple’s scheduled flagship for this year — the iPhone 8.
Foxconn too, as speculated earlier, along with a host of other OEMs with plants in India, are being kept as back-up OEMs, just in case there is an increase in the overall demand.
Do note though, that while Apple will start to manufacture iPhones here, it won’t be exporting these phones to international markets. In all likelihood, these locally manufactured phones are being produced to meet demand from India — which has been on an exponential rise — in a bid to provide some cost relief to Indians, and make the iPhone more affordable.
Apple has recently been more aggressive in expanding its Indian presence. This is largely driven by the fact, that even though India is one of the fastest growing smartphone markets in the world, it has remained largely untapped when it comes to Apple. The same largely reflects in Apple’s revenues for Q1 2017.
While the Cupertino giant has had revenues close to $16Bn from China alone, its revenues from the entire of rest of Asia-Pacific are a third of that, with revenues from India, a sixteenth of that number.
We’ve mailed Apple for official comments, and will update the story as soon as we receive one.