Apple’s major supplier Foxconn Technology Group is just weeks away from beginning the trial production of the latest iPhones at its Sriperumbudur plant outside Chennai, reports Bloomberg.
The trial run to manufacture the iPhone X range is expected to start before Foxconn begins the full-scale assembly at the plant.
Over the past few months, California-based technology giant Apple is quietly ramping up its production facilities in India to avoid paying import duties of 20 per cent. Apple is also looking to source 30 per cent of the components that go into making its products from domestic suppliers, which the law requires to allow foreign firms to open single-brand retail stores in the country.
It was also recently reported that Apple Inc has started assembling iPhone 7 at a facility owned by its other supplier Winstron in Bengaluru. Wistron already assembles older models like the low-end iPhone SE and iPhone 6S at the plant.
"I think to start with, it makes sense for Apple to localise assembling of models that have the potential to scale up and then slowly expands it to entire portfolio," said Tarun Pathak, Associate Director at Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Research.
Supply But No Demand?
However, demand for Apple iPhones in India has remained tepid due to high prices and competitive offerings from rival brands at half the prices charged by Apple. The shipment of Apple iPhones into India in 2018 shrank by half from 2017 according to estimates. The latest estimation would mean that 2018 performance has been its worst since 2014 in India for the company.
Even 2019 has fared no better. "In the first two months of 2019, Apple shipped about 150,000 devices in India and is likely to see about a 50 percent drop in the March quarter from the year earlier," said Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint Research.
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