Apple to start ‘trial assembly’ of iPhones in India next month
B]/dropcap]ENGALURU: Apple is expected to start “trial assembly” of iPhones in India next month regardless of the outcome of its requests for certain concessions from the central government, according to state officials in Karnataka.
Taiwanese original design manufacturer Wistron — with which Apple has a contract — will begin assembling the iconic phones at its unit in a Bengaluru suburb, the officials told ET.
The state has also been pursuing Apple’s case with the Centre.
“We are working to see that (Apple) brings its entire component making ecosystem to Bengaluru and begins to export from here,” one of the officials said. “We are not much concerned about Apple making iPhones for the domestic market, which will happen anyway.”
The Cupertino-based technology major has been lobbying hard with the union government to get some additional sops over and above what the country’s foreign investment policies allow. This includes the waiver of countervailing duty (CVD) on import of components that go into the making of iPhones.
“The application (of Apple) has not made much headway after passing through key ministries such as commerce, technology and finance,” according to a Karnataka government official who is of the view that the Centre may be concerned that such a waiver will not fit into the framework of the proposed goods and services tax that is expected to be rolled out from July 1.
He expects Apple will pursue its requests with the Centre independent of its Bengaluru plans “because India is a market it can ill-afford to ignore at this point”.
Apple, Wistron and the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion didn’t reply to email queries from ET on the developments. Wistron will begin assembling iPhones from its existing facility in the manufacturing hub of Peenya, in west Bengaluru.
It is expected to also establish brand new facilities for component manufacturing at a second location later.
Karnataka’s industries minister RV Deshpande said he discussed Apple’s issues with Union minsters Arun Jaitley and Nirmala Seetharaman more than once in recent months. “They assured me they will do whatever is possible,” he said.