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Made in India iPhone 11, Apple starts manufacturing flagship at Chennai plant

Apple has for the first time started manufacturing its top-end iPhone 11 in India. The move is set to give a big boost to the government’s Make in India initiative. 

Apple iPhone 11 now made in India
Apple iPhone 11 now made in India (Jhinuk Sen/HT Tech)

Apple has begun assembling the high-end iPhone 11 smartphone at its Foxconn plant in Chennai, reports Economic Times.

According to the report, Apple plans to increase production in a phased manner. The units from the Chennai plant could also be shipped to other markets.

The report further said that Apple is also planning to assemble its new iPhone SE 2020 at its Wistron plant in Bengaluru. If the report is to be believed, this is the first time Apple is manufacturing one of its most premium handsets in India.

We have reached out to Apple for more information on the same.

Union Minister Piyush Goyal in a tweet described the move as a “Significant boost to Make in India!”.

It is worth noting that Apple has gradually scaled up its manufacturing in India. The company already manufactures Apple iPhone 6s, iPhone 7 and iPhone XR in India.

In an earnings call in May this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook had said that manufacturing in India was one of the company’s top priorities.

"I think India is a very important market in the long-term. It's a challenging market in the short-term. But we're learning a lot. We have started manufacturing there which is very important to be able to serve the market in a reasonable way. And we're growing that capability there," Cook had said.

The move is likely to help Apple reduce dependence on China in the longer-term. Apart from India, Apple has also considered Vietnam as one of its top manufacturing hubs.

Apple’s move to manufacture iPhone 11 in India may also be based on the Indian government’s decision to ease some rules for its PLI (Production Linked incentive) scheme. 

According to reports, the government is also in talks with Pegatron, one of the top Apple’s manufacturing partners, to relocate some of its manufacturing units to India.

What to expect from made in India iPhone 11?

Local manufacturing will help Apple avoid hefty import duty on smartphones. This may further enable the company to keep the iPhone 11 prices low in the near future as well as propel sales through partnerships with e-commerce companies. Also, made in India units come with an ‘Assembled in India’ tag.

Foxconn's $1 billion India plans 

Foxconn is planning to invest up to $1 billion to expand its factory in southern India, reported Reuters last month. The move is said to be part of a gradual production shift by Apple away from China. "There's a strong request from Apple to its clients to move part of the iPhone production out of China," Reuters quoted a source as saying.