Apple to start making iPhone 6 and 6S models in India over next two months

Contract manufacturer Wistron will manufacture iPhones at its Bangalore plants

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Apple Inc. will soon start assembling iPhones in India for the first time, say government officials familiar with its plans, boosting the company’s chances of gaining a foothold in the fast-growing market.

Taiwanese contract manufacturer Wistron Corp. will likely start making iPhone 6 and 6S models here in the next four-to-six weeks at its plant in Bangalore, said an official of the southern state of Karnataka where the tech hub is located. It will add Apple’s cheapest iPhone model, the SE, to its assembly line in about three months, the official said.

“Almost all preparations have been done for launching Apple’s first phase project in Bangalore through Wistron,” the official told The Wall Street Journal.

“We’ve been working hard to develop our operations in India,” an Apple spokeswoman said. “We appreciate the constructive and open dialogue we’ve had with government about further expanding our local operations.” A Wistron spokeswoman said the company doesn’t comment on “rumor or speculation.”

With sales cooling in China, long an engine for Apple’s growth, manufacturing iPhones locally would help Apple address what analysts say is its biggest problem in India: its smartphones are simply too expensive for the vast majority of people.

Smartphone shipments in India grew 18% last year, compared with 3% globally, according to Counterpoint Research, but the majority of phones sold here cost less than $150.

The iPhone SE, which some online retailers now sell for as low as $330, is still out of reach of most Indian consumers. (read more…)

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