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Apple to keep up with assembling more phones out of India

E Kumar Sharma     December 28, 2018

For global companies, the India growth story is still worth pursuing despite all the speed bumps they talk of in terms of import duties, currency rate fluctuations or even some restrictive regulations. This is perhaps a good reason why US-based iPhone and Mac computer-maker Apple's plans for India continue to attract media attention.

The company is in the news again. This time for its reported plans to start assembling of its top-end iPhone models out of Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu. Apple would not comment on this, but Business Today learns from the reliable sources closely tracking the company's work with its suppliers in India, that Apple does intend to get more phones assembled out of India. It apparently is keen to build on what it already has over the past 18 months or so. In early 2017, it embarked on this journey.

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It began with the assembly of its iPhone SE and just a few months ago, around July-August this year, began assembling its iPhone 6S. Both these models are assembled in the facility of Wistron,  its OEM partner or supplier in Bengaluru. It also has Foxconn as another partner. Wistcon and Foxconn both work for multiple players, including Apple. In fact, just few months ago, around July this year, there were reports of Taiwan-based Wistron announcing plans to invest more in India.

Apple and its engagement with India has been an area of interest ever since its CEO Tim Cook's visit in the country a little over two years ago, in May 2016 to be precise. Then, the company announced its first major direct investment in India. It was with the opening of its new office in Hyderabad to focus on development of Maps for Apple products, including iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. Cook was then quoted as saying: "The talent here in the local area is incredible and we are looking forward to expanding our relationships and introducing more universities and partners to our platforms as we scale our operations."

The company seems to be taking one step at a time. In fact, the assembling of the two phone models has happened - one added each year. Perhaps it needs to still keep an eye on moving slow but steady considering the fact that Cook in an interview to Reuters in November said that he is seeing some macroeconomic weakness in some of the emerging markets." But he seems upbeat about India. In the investor conference call post Q4 of 2018, Cook pointed out: "We do manufacture some of the entry iPhones in India and that project has gone well. I am a big believer in India. There is a huge number of people who will move into the middle class."

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