India is on its way to become the biggest smartphone market in the world. Most manufacturers recognised this opportunity and began allocating towards this expansion, and reaped great rewards. Apple was notably absent from this list, but that could be about to change as a new report states that Apple will commence sales of Made in India top-end iPhones next month onwards.
The Indian government has been taking major steps towards ensuring that the subcontinent becomes the hub for smartphone manufacturing globally, under the Make in India scheme. Companies that wish to set up manufacturing facilities over here are offered incentives, along with access to over a billion potential consumers. On the other hand, manufacturers that continue importing devices to sell in India are subjected to a 20% duty, rendering their devices too expensive for the Indian market. India being a price-sensitive market, any bit of price increase can hurt these brands.
Apple had only recently begun manufacturing in India, but that move only included the cheaper iPhones such as the iPhone SE, iPhone 6S and the iPhone 7, which are approaching the end of their life-cycles. The latest iPhones were still imported, and thus, were way more expensive than in other markets.
In a move that is going to bring smiles to a lot of Indians, Apple’s top-end iPhones assembled by Foxconn’s local arm are going to hit stores starting next month. They are awaiting final approval, after which Indian-made iPhone XR and XS devices should be available at improved prices. If things go as scheduled, the price drops could arrive as early as August of 2019.
It’s no secret that Apple has been struggling with iPhone sales. The company has themselves admitted that people are not changing phones as fast as they’d want. Their market share is taking a hit, with less than 1% foothold in the Indian market. If they really want to bounce back, India needs to be a big part of their future plans, and the local manufacturing and assembly of these higher-end iPhones could just be the first step towards it.