Apple's main iPhone manufacturer in India is closing in on a land deal in the tech hub of Bengaluru that will see the firm invest around $157 million to assemble iPhone SE and potentially iPhone 6s models on the site, according to Reuters.
Unnamed Indian government officials on Wednesday reportedly confirmed the Taiwanese contractor's intentions, which could result in its iPhone SE assembly unit taking over about 100 acres in and around the capital of the southern Indian state of Karnataka.
Wistron executives reportedly toured the area in November and met with the industries minister of Karnataka earlier this month, and a deal on the land lease could be struck in a few weeks, according to one of the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity as they are not authorized to publicly comment on the plans.
Another source who spoke to Reuters said Apple will likely begin assembling iPhone 6s models in India soon, using Wistron's expanding manufacturing capacity in the country, as it looks to cut costs and diversify its production base beyond greater China. Launched over two years ago, the iPhone 6s is still popular in emerging markets because of its affordability relative to Apple's iPhone 7, iPhone 8, and iPhone X.
Apple sees opportunities to save on import taxes, price phones cheaper and potentially widen its customer base in India if it assembles phones locally. However last month India raised import taxes on electronic goods, which caused Apple to raise the price of most iPhone models there except for iPhone SE.
Apple has sought tax breaks and incentives from the Indian government for months as it looks to expand operations in the country, but despite some positive comments from state officials, no exceptions have yet been made for Apple.