Apple starts assembling iPhone 12 in India

Apple is beginning to assemble the iPhone 12 in India as it ramps up its production capacity in the world’s second largest smartphone market. Foxconn, a contract manufacturer partner of Apple, is assembling the iPhone 12 model — though no other iPhone 12 model — that is, Pro and Pro Max, and Mini — in the country.

The move underscores how India is emerging as a big production hub for global smartphone makers. Samsung, Xiaomi, Oppo, Vivo, and OnePlus have been assembling their smartphone models in India for more than half a decade and have increased their production capacities in recent years. New Delhi offers tax benefits to phone makers who locally produce in India and in recent quarters has increased the perks.

Apple began locally assembling its smartphones in India in 2017 — beginning with the iPhone SE — though for the initial years the company’s contract partners locally produced only older iPhone models in the country.

“Apple is dedicated to making the best products and services in the world to delight our customers. We are proud to be starting production of iPhone 12 in India for our local customers,” a company spokesperson said Wednesday in a statement.

Analysts have estimated that Apple plans to move between seven to 10% of its iPhone production to India as it looks to cut reliance on China. TechCrunch understands the figure is “wild speculation.”

The iPhone maker suffered a setback in India late last year after a violent protest broke at a facility in Wistron, one of its key manufacturing partners of Apple, near Bangalore last year. But the Taiwanese firm appears to have resolved the issues. It said last month that it was rehiring workers and will soon be resuming production at its facility.

Apple assumes just 2% of the Indian smartphone market, but it has grown in recent quarters. Apple shipped more than 1.5 million iPhone units in India in the quarter that ended in December, up 100% year-on-year, making this its best quarter in the world’s largest smartphone market to date, according to research firms Counterpoint and CyberMedia Research.

This is a developing story. More to follow…

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