In a clear signal that India is Apple's next growth market, Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer Foxconn's Chairman Terry Gou said, on Monday, the company would begin mass production of iPhones in India this year. Addressing an event, Gou said the move "will get Foxconn more deeply involved in the development of the country's smartphone industry", reports Patently Apple. "In the future, we will play an important role in India's smartphone industry," Gou said, as reported by IANS.
The 69-year-old billionaire founder and Chairman of Foxconn Technology Group also revealed plans to retire, signalling handing over of the baton to young management that would run the world's largest electronics contract manufacturer.
Foxconn is already expanding its manufacturing operations in India, especially at its Sriperumbudur (Chennai) facility. "To start with, it makes sense for Apple to localise assembling of models that have the potential to scale up and then slowly expand it to the entire portfolio," Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Research, told IANS.
A CNBC report in December said Apple would begin assembling its top-end iPhones in India through the local unit of Foxconn as early as 2019.
"Importantly, Foxconn will be assembling the most expensive models, such as devices in the flagship iPhone X family, potentially taking Apple's business in India to a new level," reported CNBC.
Giving an impetus to its India manufacturing plans, Apple in March started the assembling of iPhone 7 at its other supplier Wistron's facility in Bengaluru. Taiwanese industrial major Wistron assembles iPhone 6S in the country.
Wistron has also announced plans to invest Rs 3,000 crore in the Narasupra industrial sector in Karnataka's Kolar district. The new Wistron facility may also manufacture a wider range of Apple devices.
Apple is slowly but steadily strategising its plans to make deeper inroads in a country where over 450 million people use smartphones, and assembling iPhone 7 is another step towards gaining ground.
Apple has begun reducing the price of iPhones in China and may go the same way in India where the iPhone is considered expensive. It is also seeking tax relief and other incentives to begin assembling more handsets and open its branded stores in India.