Apple's main iPhone manufacturer in India has won initial approval to build a new smartphone factory in the country.
The Economic Times reports that India's IT ministry has given assent to Taiwan-based Wistron to construct the new factory, which now just needs approval from the Indian Cabinet to go ahead. Wistron will make cheaper iPhones in the new plant, reportedly beginning with the iPhone 8.
Foxconn meanwhile is poised to build Apple's latest high-end smartphones, including the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, once its application gets similar approval by the relevant government departments. Foxconn sees production plants in India as a way to diversify its supply chain away from China, where most of the Taiwan-based firm's facilities currently reside.
Apple has been pushing to set up an iPhone manufacturing hub in India ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi began promoting his "Made in India" initiative, which requires that 30 percent of products sold by foreign companies be manufactured or produced within the country.
India is the world's second largest smartphone market, but just one in four Indians are said to own a smartphone, providing Apple with an opportunity to sell iPhones to millions of new customers in the country. However Apple is said to have had little success so far in what is a very price-sensitive market, with more than 75 percent of the smartphones sold in the country costing less than $250, according to one report.
Apple revamped its India strategy in 2018 to include better and longer-lasting retail deals with higher sales targets, the debut of official Apple retail stores in India, and an overhaul of the company's relationship with independent retailers.