Apple has finally started manufacturing the iPhone 11 in India at its Foxconn plant near Chennai. A batch of these ‘Made In India iPhone 11’ have already been shipped to retail stores, making it perhaps one of the biggest milestones for Indian Government’s Make In India project.

Apple might even consider exporting Indian made iPhones to other countries, as the companies plans to reduce its dependence on China, especially with the anti China sentiment that is brewing in the western hemisphere.

Piyush Goyal, India’s Minister of Commerce and Trade, said in the tweet “Apple has started manufacturing iPhone 11 in India, bringing a top-of-the-line model for the first time in the country.”

However, a fact that cannot be ignored is that despite the fact these phones are being manufactured locally, there is no reduction in the MRP, which will remain the same as before. The company states that while assembly of the devices has started in India, Chinese made variants are still being sold, and thus, it would be unfeasible to offer any discounts.  However, officials have that they might consider slashing the prices later on, since the move saves the company 22% on import duty.

Apple also has other things in mind for India, as it plans to launch its online store in India in a few months. In addition to this, they will also open their first physical retail store next year. More importantly, Apple is also planning to assemble its new version of iPhone SE in Bengaluru, India. This year, Apple has been the least impacted (by the pandemic) smartphone maker in the country.

By manufacturing in India, Apple will save itself from paying 22% import duty that the Indian authorities levy on imported electronics merchandise. A big reason for that high import duty is to encourage electronic makers to locally manufacture in India. Apple already has experience in the region, and has been assembling older iPhone SE, iPhone 6s, and iPhone 7 at the Bangalore plant. Moreover, it is already assembling the ‘budget friendly’ (if you can call it that) iPhone XR in the region. Thus, the country can be a viable replacement to China’s assembly plants, a move that the company has been forced to make.

“I think India is a very important market in the long-term. It’s a challenging market in the short-term. But we’re learning a lot. We have started manufacturing there which is very important to be able to serve the market reasonably. And we’re growing that capability there,” Tim Cook had said in May this year during 2020 earnings call.