Smartphone giant Apple plans to start assembling iPhones in India on a trial basis in May, regardless of the outcome of its request for tax concessions from the government, The Economic Times (ET) reported.
Apple reached a deal in mid-February to start assembling lower-priced iPhones in India, with contract manufacturer Wistron due to set up a facility in technology hub Bengaluru (Bangalore) to produce only iPhones. Sources said at the time Apple planned to go ahead with production without waiting for the government to approve a list of requested tax incentives.
ET quoted a state official in Karnataka as saying: “We are working to see that [Apple] brings its entire component making ecosystem to Bengaluru and begins to export from here. We are not much concerned about Apple making iPhones for the domestic market, which will happen anyway.”
In March, media reports said the Bengaluru plant is a pilot project for Apple and the scope of manufacturing in the country will depend on the concessions from the government.
As part of its preconditions to manufacture in India, Apple asked for a waiver of custom duties on imports of components and equipment for 15 years as well as an exemption from the country’s 30 per cent local sourcing requirement.
The country’s Department of Revenue in March rejected Apple’s request for tax incentives for it to start local production of iPhones.
While Indian officials said they would not give in to demands for concessions from one company, the government is reviewing its overall manufacturing policy to stimulate support for its “Make in India” initiative, and attract foreign investors.