Apple iPhone SE smartphones. (Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg)

‘Assembled In India’ iPhones Hit Delhi, Mumbai And Bengaluru Stores

Apple Inc.’s first batch of ‘assembled in India’ iPhone SE has made its debut in select stores in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru, three people familiar with the matter told BloombergQuint.

Priced at Rs 20,000 for 16GB, Rs 27,200 for 32GB and Rs 37,200 for 128 GB , the handset carries a ‘Designed in California and Assembled in India’ imprint on the boxes.

The Cupertino, Silicon Valley-based technology giant had said in May that it is beginning the initial production of a ‘small number’ of iPhone SE in Bengaluru, two months after the Karnataka government announced Apple’s proposal to commence initial manufacturing operations.

The phones are assembled by Wistron, a Taiwanese original equipment maker, for Apple at Peenya in the city. Apple’s production of assembled-in-India iPhone SE is expected to gather pace after the Goods and Services Tax kicks in, two of people quoted above said. BloombergQuint’s emailed queries to Apple didn’t elicit a response.

Last week, Newley Purnel, a Wall Street Journal correspondent, had tweeted that assembled-in-India iPhones are available in Bengaluru.

Apple shipped nearly 2.5 million iPhones into the country in 2016 but only ranked 10th among vendors in the December quarter, according to Counterpoint Research. The company, which accounts for 3 percent of shipments in India, is now relying heavily on local manufacturing to cut costs and boost sales. Assembling the smartphones locally is a step in that direction.

Its ambition to set up a local manufacturing unit in India faced a setback recently when the finance ministry rejected its demand for tax exemptions. It had sought concessions such as duty exemption on manufacturing and repair units, components, capital equipment for smartphones for 15 years. The decision will now be taken by the GST Council.

The government wants Apple to commit to investment and creation of jobs before finalising on its plea for tax concessions, Bloomberg reported citing people aware of the development.

Also Read: Apple Said to Hit Setback in India Push