Apple's plans to locally manufacture iPhones in India are progressing well, with a local IT minister welcoming the company's "proposal to commence initial manufacturing operations." Apple is slated to kick off its iPhone assembly in India in Bengaluru, lining up with an earlier report that said that the company will tie up with manufacturing partner Wistron, which has a factory in the city's industrial hub. The factory makes India the third destination for iPhone production in the world, signaling a huge win for the government's "Make in India" program.
In a statement, the IT minister of the state of Karnataka, Priyank Kharge, said:
Apple's intentions to manufacture in Bengaluru will foster cutting edge technology eco system and supply chain development in the state, which are critical for India to compete globally.
The move comes as Apple is looking to vastly increase its presence in the country. It has been talking to government officials to seek a single-brand retail license for well over a year now, which will allow the company to bring its retail stores to India. More recently, the company has asked the government for several concessions before it can set up local production, including an exemption in customs duties on components for 15 years and a relaxation on product labeling.
For its part, Apple hasn't yet confirmed that it is setting up shop in Bengaluru. In a statement to BuzzFeed, it said:
We've been working hard to develop our operations in India and are proud to deliver the best products and services in the world to our customers here. We appreciate the constructive and open dialogue we've had with government about further expanding our local operations.
The government has set up a panel to look into Apple's concessions, and is likely to announce its verdict shortly. Apple executives met with government officials last week, and it is possible that the company is waiting on the government's response before detailing its local manufacturing plans.