Apple has started “manufacturing” the iPhone 11 in India, at its Foxconn plant in Chennai, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted on Friday. The new development comes just a little over nine months after the Cupertino giant started the assembly line for the iPhone XR in the country.
The local assembly of the iPhone 11 would help the company avoid a 20 percent tax that it is needed to pay for importing the handset from its global manufacturing facilities. Apple has Foxconn, Wistron, and Pegatron as the suppliers for its iPhone models that all are presently making huge investments in the Indian market.
The report further said that Apple is also planning to assemble its new iPhone SE 2020 at its Wistron plant in Bengaluru.
Union Minister Piyush Goyal in a tweet described the move as a “Significant boost to Make in India!” This is the first time Apple is manufacturing one of its most premium handsets in India.
It is worth noting that Apple has gradually scaled up it’s manufacturing in India. The company already manufactures Apple iPhone 6s, iPhone 7 and iPhone XR in India.
In an earnings call in May this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook had said that manufacturing in India was one of the company’s top priorities. “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 in a reasonable way. And we’re growing that capability there,” Cook had said.
The move is likely to help Apple reduce dependence on China in the longer-term. Apart from India, Apple has also considered Vietnam as one of its top manufacturing hubs.
Apple’s move to manufacture iPhone 11 in India may also be based on the Indian government’s decision to ease some rules fr its PLI (Production Linked incentive) scheme.
Earlier this month,Foxconn, which is a leading supplier for iPhone and other Apple devices, reportedly planned to invest up to $1 billion (roughly Rs. 7,491 crores) to expand its India factory where it assembles iPhone models. According to reports, the government is also in talks with Pegatron, one of the top Apple’s manufacturing partners, to relocate some of its manufacturing units to India.