An Indian government official has revealed plans for Apple to start manufacturing iPhones at a new facility in Bangalore, which may commence operations as early as April.
Priyank Kharge, Minister of IT for the Indian state of Karnataka, said on Twitter that Apple’s plans would “foster cutting-edge technology ecosystem and supply chain development” for Bangalore. The state also issued a statement welcoming the iPhone maker’s move to begin “initial manufacturing operations”.
Taiwanese contract manufacturer Wistron had been roped in to drive the production in Bangalore, which Kharge said would make the Apple smartphone for the local market. The minister told Bloomberg he met with the company’s representatives last month, confirming that production at the plant would begin by end-April.
Apple shipped 2.5 million iPhones into India last year, while some 78.3 million units of the smartphone were sold globally in the fourth quarter of 2016.
The vendor’s other manufacturing partner, Foxconn, operated several facilities in its domestic market China, with Apple generating half of its parent Hon Hai Precision Industry’s business.
India bypassed US last year to become the world’s second-largest mobile market, after China. It was estimated to have more than 300 million smartphone users, with this number projected to hit 810 million by 2021.
The Indian government in May rejected Apple’s application to sell refurbished units of iPhone and iPad in the country, saying this would violate its Hazardous Waste Rules and generate e-waste. It did, however, relaxed local sourcing policies to allow Apple to open retail stores in India, where it currently sold its products through local resellers.
According to local laws, foreign entities looking to set up shop in India must sell products containing components of which at least 30 percent were sourced within the Asian country.
Several mobile phone makers already operated production facilities in India, including Chinese vendors Xiaomi, Lenovo, Vivo, and Gionee as well as Korean smartphone giant Samsung. According to IDC, more than two thirds of smartphones shipped in India were assembled within the country.