It’s been confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that Apple has begun to assemble its cheapest iPhone in India. The iPhone SE is being assembled by Wilstron, which is a Taiwanese contractor with a facility in Bengaluru. It’ll start shipping the handsets to customers in India this month.
In an official statement, Apple said:
“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.”
This is a significant move for the iPhone company that wants to set up itself in the Indian market. It might help boost its growth as the iPhone business is starting to slow down.
Unfortunately, the company will have to face different obstacles if it wanted to succeed in the said country. According to the Indian law, Apple has to obtain 30 percent of its components locally. Furthermore, the iPhone prices must go down.
In India, the average smartphone price is $155. But the starting price of iPhone SE is $399. The main manufacturers of phones in India are Chinese companies. They hold 50 percent of smartphone sales. Samsung controls over a quarter of the Indian market. Unfortunately, Apple has only two percent of the share.
By assembling its handset in India, it’ll meet some of the local sourcing requirements of the Indian law. This decision of Apple would be valuable to the country’s Prime Minister who wants to have more local manufacturing jobs in his country.
For Apple, reducing its iPhone price is a challenging proposition. Currently, it’s being sold at $320 in India. However, with this latest move, the price might drop to $100.
By bringing its iPhone price down to at least $250, it would make the handset more affordable. However, it’ll still be above the average price of a smartphone in India. If it does choose to bring the price down aggressively, it could sell a significant number of iPhones.
Government officials are also seeking more production of iPhone in India. They’re also hoping that the company would manufacture other iPhones there, instead of focusing on iPhone SE. The country may grant the company more resources for its manufacturers so it could expand its operations in India.
Meanwhile, Apple will open its first store in Singapore this May. On May 27, its Apple Orchard Road Store located at Knightsbridge Mall will be available at 10 am. It’ll be open from 10 am to 10 pm, Mondays to Sundays.
During the opening of the said first store, the company will provide a series of programs, such as an acoustic performance by Sezairi Sezali, an Idol winner. On the following day, a photo walk will be conducted by Chia Air Beng, a local photographer.
This opening was supposed to happen last year, but it’s being postponed to January 30, 2017. Now, it’s finally going to happen. The first brick-and-mortar store in the country will finally open.