Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has begun assembling iPhones in India specifically the iPhone SE, its cheapest smartphone. This follows a trial run which was conducted earlier in a bid by Apple to enter the South Asian market which is growing faster than its other big markets such as China and the United States. Apple confirmed the development in a statement.
“We are beginning initial production of a small number of iPhone SE in Bengaluru. iPhone SE is the most popular and powerful phone with a four-inch display in the world and we’ll begin shipping to domestic customers this month,” read the Apple statement.
Manufacturing of the iPhone SE is being handled by Wistron Corp, a contract manufacturer based in Taiwan but which owns an assembling facility in India’s Karnataka State. Prior to beginning manufacturing in India Apple had asked for some concessions from the Indian government.
Though the iPhone SE manufactured in India could be available for sale as early as next week, no information has been provided on how much it will cost on the domestic market. Some resellers in India already sell the device for approximately $320 which is lower than the $399 that Apple sells the device for in the United States. Officials in the Indian government are believed to be hoping that the price could be reduced by up to $100. It is, however, Apple’s practice to have prices that are uniform and consistent around the world since this allows it to protect its gross margins.
Still unaffordable for the majority
Despite the fact that the 4-inch iPhone SE is the cheapest iPhone, a price of $320 makes it unaffordable for most citizens of India. According to some analysts, a price of $250 would enhance its affordability though it would still be higher than what the average price of a smartphone is in India – $150.
Currently, the market share of Apple in India is 3%. There is room for growth though as the Indian smartphone market is growing much faster than the global average at a rate of 18% compared to the world average of 3%.