It could be a great source of employment for Indian people as well.

Apple might start making iPhones in India this year – a local government official said Friday. As the Cupertino-based giant looks to tap a booming middle class market perhaps because of its slow sales in China.

However, Apple has not confirmed the move, but its CEO Tim Cook said this week the company intended to “invest significantly” in India, where a pick-up in the economy provides ample opportunity for growth.

“We have an understanding with Apple and we expect them to start manufacturing in Karnataka, New Delhi by the end of April,” Priyank Kharge, minister of information technology and biotechnology in southern Karnataka state, told Agence France-Presse.

He also said the new operation would likely assemble iPhones for the Indian domestic market yet there is still the fact that Apple outsources all its manufacturing globally.

Apple currently sells its phones in India through third-party retailers. It is eager to open its own stores but Indian law would require them to procure 30 percent of the components of its products locally.

Experts said manufacturing locally would reduce the company’s costs and enable it to lower prices. “They’re eager to be here because they’ve identified India as a strategic focus market,” said Jaideep Mehta of research firm IDC.

According to research firm Canalys, Apple has only a two-percent share of the Indian market, well behind rival Samsung on 23 percent. However, on last year it had 48 percent of the premium sector in which phones sell for $450 and above.

“They had a fantastic 2016 in India and shipped more two million devices to India, and now they’re looking to ultimately manufacture here as that gives them more flexibility to respond to market changes.”

Reports from Indian media said Wistron Corp., a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer, was lined up to assemble iPhones at a plant on the tech hub at Bangalore.

Source: Inquirer