Apple in talks with India for locally-made iPhones

Apple Inc is in talks with India’s government to explore making products locally, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

According to a report from Reuters, the U.S. firm aims to make deeper inroads in the world’s second-largest mobile phone market by users.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is trying to boost technology manufacturing in the country through his ‘Make in India’ initiative.

His government in June exempted foreign retailers for three years from a requirement to locally source 30 percent of goods sold in their stores.

The Journal said Apple, in a letter to the federal government in November, outlined manufacturing plans and asked for financial incentives.

Government representatives were not available to comment while an Apple spokesman in India did not immediately respond to an email from Reuters seeking comment.

Local manufacturing would help Apple open retail stores in the country where its iPhones account for less than 2 percent of Indian smartphones sales.

Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd (Foxconn), which makes Apple devices such as iPhones and iPads, has a manufacturing facility in southern India.

Apple Inc started its aggressive marketing strategies in India since 2013.

At that time, Credit Suisse research analyst Sunil Tirumalai told clients in an official statement: “From our channel checks we believe that iPhone sales are nearing 400,000 units per month in India – that is nearly 3 percent share of handset sales for a single top-end product in a market that has long been dominated by low-end feature phones.”

Apple CEO Time Cook visits an Apple store in India.

Apple has so far followed up its success story in India by rebranding the iPhone as “an affordable product rather than a high-end luxury item.”

The company introduced a 18 percent cash discount on the iPhone 4 and began offering trade-in-rebates for up to $134 off certain models in April, 2013.

Thankfully, Apple also sells older models of the handset in India that pre-date the iPhone 4 and are not officially sold by the company in any other country.

“Almost half the people in India are below 25. And so I see the demographics there also being incredibly great for a consumer brand and for people that really want the best products,” Tim Cook said in March, 2016, ahead of a planned takeover of India’s smartphone market.