After months of reports that suggested Apple was gearing up to begin iPhone production within India as a way to boost its presence in the country, a report by The Wall Street Journal today has confirmed the first ever iPhone assembly trial run completed in India earlier this month. As it was previously reported, assembler Wistron handled the iPhone production trial run, specifically focusing on the assembling of iPhone SE devices.

Apple further confirmed that it has begun the initial production of an unspecified "small number" of iPhone SE devices in its Bangalore plant, and plans to begin the first official shipment of Indian-created iPhones to local customers as soon as this month. Retail stores are expected to get their first shipment of iPhone SE handsets "as early as this week or next," according to people familiar with the manufacturing plans.

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The manufacturing of Apple’s cheapest iPhone model, the SE, was handled earlier this month by Taiwanese contract manufacturer Wistron Corp., which has an assembling unit in the southern state of Karnataka, a state official with direct knowledge of the matter told The Wall Street Journal.

Apple said in a statement that it has begun initial production of a small number of iPhone SE handsets in Bangalore and will begin shipping the Indian-made devices to domestic customers this month. The first devices could hit stores as early as this week or next, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The cost of the device remains unclear, with some Indian government officials hoping that the iPhone SE could be up to $100 cheaper than $320, the current average going rate for iPhone SE devices in the country. In most markets, including the United States, the iPhone SE starts at $399, but some analysts watching Apple's move in India argued for the need of an "aggressive" pricing on the smartphone in order for Apple to compete with the wide variety of cheap devices available.

Bringing its price down below $250 would help make it more affordable, analysts say, though it would still be well above the average smartphone price in India which research firm IDC says is around $150.

“Apple is likely to sell a good number of iPhones if it prices them so aggressively,” said Faisal Kawoosa, principal analyst at research firm CMR. “In three to five years, these users will be able to graduate to a standard-priced iPhone.”

Looking forward, some of the government officials said that Apple "could seek more production" within India down the line, potentially opening up manufacturing on other iPhones. Additionally, India is open to granting Apple more land and resources for its contract manufacturers to expand their operations throughout the country.

Last year, Apple began discussing its expansion in India with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was trying to boost his "Make in India" initiative, at the same time as it looked to set up a local distribution center that could help consolidate its logistics and supply chain in the country. Apple's struggles in the country have been reported to center around the iPhone's expensive price tag -- a fact that CEO Tim Cook has admitted himself -- with a Strategy Analytics report last summer outlining a total 35 percent fewer iPhone devices sold in 2016 than in 2015.

Related Roundup: iPhone SE 2020
Tag: India
Buyer's Guide: iPhone SE (Don't Buy)
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

d5aqoëp Avatar
55 months ago
iPhone SE assembly is just a trail run to gauge whether that facility can be upgraded or expanded to produce next-gen iPhones in the future. Apple wants to play it safe.

Apple manufacturing in India somehow tells me that Apple has had enough with Chinese way of doing things. Shipping costs of Indian made phones to Europe and Africa might be lower due to reduced travel distance and so on.

The main objective is to sell iPhones under Rs. 20000 ($310) in India which is an extremely cost sensitive market.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
d5aqoëp Avatar
55 months ago
Spy/Scamware preinstalled.
That was the most ignorant comment ever and even you know it.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
vvs14 Avatar
55 months ago
Thanks for proving my point.

Somehow, "traffic congestion" allows Chinese to purchase 28 million cars but India only 3 million.

But let's not let facts get in the way. I'm sure Indian consumers have plenty of disposable income. They just don't show it by purchasing smartphones or passenger vehicles. Talk about cognitive dissonance.


* Poverty Retreats in India, but the Middle Class Barely Expands, Pew Research Center ('http://www.pewglobal.org/2015/07/08/despite-povertys-plunge-middle-class-status-remains-out-of-reach-for-many/')
* The myth of the great Indian middle class, The Globe and Mail ('http://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/the-myth-of-the-great-indian-middle-class/article30400732/')


.
Keep thinking you know more about India than someone who has lived there most of his life. These statistics based studies can often paint a wrong picture. No one is saying there is no poverty in India. Just that car sales is a wrong yardstick to use in case of India. Its simply not the preferred mode of transport. Two wheelers are, which has resulted in India being the largest two wheeler market in the world. But like you said, lets not let fact get in the way.

As far as smartphone sales are concerned, more that 100 million were sold last year alone. Yearly sales will only increase as incomes rise. I already said iPhones wont be sold in high numbers right away because many cheaper and good quality options are available. But Apple is in it for the long term. Unlike a few people, Apple has the ability to take multiple factors into consideration before making a judgement.

Also I am not going to try changing what you think anymore. So please don't bother answering.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pika2000 Avatar
55 months ago
It will be interesting with Apple planting their seeds in different countries (although many due to the requirement of the local government, like the R&D in Indonesia).
[doublepost=1495034364][/doublepost]
And I paid for my iPhone 5s 340€ in 2016. Unfair.
Do you want to live in India instead?
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
JPack Avatar
55 months ago
You are so wrong. Even though there are a lot of poor people. There is also a massive middle class of over 300 million. Also, http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/industry/energy/power/for-the-first-time-in-history-india-will-not-have-power-deficit-situation-in-fy17/articleshow/52562666.cms

Indian economy is growing very fast and this so will the middle class.
India is still really, really poor by any measure. Your so-called "middle class" means nothing if that class doesn't actually have money.

In 2016, the Indian population purchased 3 million cars. In the same year, Chinese purchased 28 million cars and Americans around 18 million.

The iPhone SE is meant for India and other developing economies of the world who have yet to transition to smartphones. The Bangalore plant will not be producing high end iPhone models any time soon.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Keane16 Avatar
55 months ago
It's surprising to me that it still makes sense to set up new manufacturing facilities for such an old device.
I imagine the plant will expand in capability going forward - diversifying Apple's manufacturing. Much like China, India has the population to staff plants like this at low cost. Something America for example can not.

I'd be stunned if this is just going to be a small scale SE only plant for the long term.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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