Is Apple considering India manufacturing hub to boost sales?

20 Dec 2016

iPhone. Image: Bulatnikov/Shutterstock

Apple is in talks with India officials to potentially set up a manufacturing base in the third-largest smartphone market in the world, according to reports.

In smartphone terms, India is an Android paradise. Figures in 2016 at one stage showed Apple’s market share in the populous country as just 2.4pc.

For a company reliant on growth, that’s simply not good enough – but things could soon change. According to reports in The Wall Street Journal, Apple is in talks with Indian officials to build a manufacturing hub in the country.

“Financial incentives” are being sought by Apple to press ahead with any plants, according to the report, with the idea of making locally, and therefore selling locally, appealing to the tech giant.

Interestingly, one of Apple’s primary manufacturing partners, Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry, has a manufacturing facility in southern India.

During the summer, Google revealed plans to train up to 2m software developers in India on its mobile platform. This came two months after Apple announced 4,000 new jobs in Hyderabad, and also established a new iOS apps development centre in Bengaluru to accelerate the Indian tech start-up ecosystem.

In China, where Apple is performing better but still not satisfactorily, efforts have also been made throughout 2016.

Earlier in the year, Tim Cook made a departure from Apple’s recent global operations by settling on two facilities in the world’s most populous country.

With plans to build a $45m R&D centre secured in September, the company then settled on Shenzhen as a second location one month later.

“The Shenzhen centre, along with the Beijing centre, is also aimed at strengthening relationships with local partners and universities, as we work to support talent development across the country,” said the spokesperson.

Building up both operations in both countries makes plenty of economic sense, though only time will tell if it has a major impact on smartphone market shares.

iPhone. Image: Bulatnikov/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic