India is the second largest smartphone market in the world. However, its status as a developing country means that per capita income is low. The latest data from The Human Development Index (HDI) shows that 25% of Indians get by earning less than $1.25 USD each day. As a result, value manufacturers like Xiaomi have done well in this market. Most of the Apple iPhone models sold in India tend to be lower priced older models. To make them even cheaper, Apple started manufacturing in the country a couple of years ago. This helped the handsets avoid a $100 USD import tax and was in sync with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India" campaign.
The first model that Apple produced in India was the iPhone SE. A throwback to the iPhone 5s with its 4-inch screen, the device was priced in the country for less than the equivalent of $250 USD. The facilities in Bengaluru, India used to assemble the phone are owned by contract manufacturer Wistron. Last year, after reportedly testing production of several older iPhone models at the plant, Apple decided to manufacture the iPhone 6s in India because of its popularity in the country. Before Apple decided to stop production of the iPhone SE, it accounted for 15% of iPhone sales in India versus 33% for the iPhone 6 series. The iPhone SE has been sold out on Indian e-commerce site Flipkart and on Amazon India.
iPhone 6s in India. The image of one such ad was disseminated in a tweet sent out by Varun Krishnan (via AppleInsider) and not only brags that the device is now made in India, it also lists the price of 26,910 Rupees (equivalent to $383 USD at current exchange rates). The iPhone 6s was released in September 2015 and is equipped with a 4.7-inch display. The Apple A9 SoC is under the hood, and on back you'll find a 12MP camera. A 5MP Face Time camera is also included as is Touch ID, and a 3.5mm earphone jack.Now, it appears that Apple has started promoting the "Incredible"
Apple is planning on expanding its iPhone production in India to high-end models
Late last year, there was some more news regarding Apple's Indian iPhone manufacturing plans. Contract manufacturer Foxconn will reportedly assemble higher-end iPhone models at its factory in Sriperumbudur. Foxconn, which already produces Xiaomi handsets in the country, is expected to start a trial production run of the iPhone X in India. If that goes well, Apple could soon add the "Made in India" label on local ads for the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR. There is also talk about Foxconn assembling the yet to be announced 2019 iPhones in the country. The company is believed to be spending $356 million to expand its Indian facilities and could add as many as 25,000 new employees.
If you are wondering about the 2018 iPhone models globally, Foxconn accounts for the assembly of all iPhone XS units, 90% of the iPhone XS Max and 75% of the iPhone XR. Pegatron is said to produce the remaining phones. Because these companies assemble the devices in China, there are concerns that the current U.S.-China trade war could result in the imposition of tariffs on iPhone models made in China and shipped to the states. One well-respected analyst, Morgan Stanley's Katy Huberty, says that the price of the iPhone XR could rise by $160 in the U.S. if the model becomes subject to the 25% import tax levied on billions of Chinese goods delivered to America. Apple could avoid tariffs if it moves production to India, but that would surely limit the number of units produced. And there is also the huge job of moving the supply chain. If the iPhone is included in the next round of tariffs, Apple will probably eat some of the tax. It currently is absorbing the import tax placed on its iPhone and iPad cases.