Aiming to compete in a market where the majority of smartphone volumes belong to the entry and mid level segment, Apple has decided to assemble the iPhone SE at its yet to be operational Bangalore unit. Initially, 3-4 lakh units of the device will be assembled at the plant which is being set up by Apple’s contract manufacturer Wistron.
Apparently, Apple doesn’t wish to wait on the Government’s approval for the tax concessions it had sought before beginning operations. The company is keen to experience manufacturing in India, amid global slowdown of the smartphone’s growth. That decision is backed by Wistron’s readiness to start assembly as early as the beginning of April 2017.
Launched in April 2016, the iPhone SE was squarely aimed at emerging markets, as its accessible price point was considered as an easy entry into the iPhone family. However, even the lower price tag of Rs 39,000 for a basic model of SE was a little too steep for price conscious markets. The iPhone SE currently retails at around Rs. 30,000 in India. Considering that local assembly will negate the 10-12% import duty, expect the made in India iPhone to be launched at a new low. Considered as a premium brand, bringing the entry point into the brand family to a lower point will surely entice many.
According to the report, Industry insiders said Apple could have started by making the iPhone 5S — its top-selling model, but has chosen the iPhone SE as it is the lowest-priced offering in Apple’s stable and also among the most recent, which would support future iOS upgrades.
State Governments in India are also competing to grab a pie of Apple’s decision to Make in India. State governments too are competing with each other to host Apple’s manufacturing business. “Apple wants to make India its third home (in addition to the US and China) and they want to manufacture in Karnataka. We want to support them,” Karnataka industries minister RV Deshpande told ET. He said he had met the Union ministers concerned over past three days to push the state’s case.
Recently, Maharashta state chief minister Devendra Fadnavis met senior officials from Foxconn, Apple’s biggest contract manufacturer, and offered to compensate for the 11.5% import duty in case talks with the Centre did not yield a positive result.