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Foxconn to build iPhones in India

Foxconn to build iPhones in India
Foxconn Technology is in talks to manufacture Apple’s iPhone in India, government officials said, in a move that could lower prices in the world’s number three smartphone market where the US firm trails Samsung Electronics and local players.

India could help Foxconn mitigate accelerating wage inflation in China, where it makes the majority of iPhones, and base production sites closer to markets where its key clients want to grow.

Lower production costs could also help Foxconn keep hold of Apple orders amid intensifying competition with nimble manufacturing rivals such as Quanta Computer. "Foxconn is sending a delegation of their officers to scout for locations in a month's time," Subhash Desai, Industries Minister of Maharashtra, told Reuters.

Foxconn has said it is aiming to develop 10-12 facilities in India, including factories and data centres, by 2020, but had given no detail. The Taiwan-based tech giant, the world's largest contract maker of electronic products, declined to comment on detailed plans on Thursday, citing commercial sensitivity. Desai said Foxconn had yet to make any firm commitment, but he said the group was looking to manufacture iPhones, iPads and iPods, both for domestic as well as global sales. Apple representatives in India did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Apple’s iPhone 6 with 16 GB sells for around Rs 44,000 ($687.82) in India, versus Samsung’s Galaxy S6 with 32 GB, which sells for around Rs 40,000 ($625.29). It has 10 per cent market share in India, trailing Samsung and local manufacturers such as Micromax, which dominate the market, according to Counterpoint Research Market Monitor.

Make in India

A return of Foxconn -- which was forced to shut up shop in India last year after client Nokia closed -- would be a major victory for India, which badly needs to turn its tech boom into a manufacturing and employment boost.

India, under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has sought to reboot manufacturing, but the country is yet to rival China, particularly in technology where most factories will likely be assembly units to begin with.

But local businessmen are betting that as global companies invest in the country, suppliers will follow. A lack of good infrastructure and suppliers are the biggest hurdles to making technology products in the country, forcing most of India's more than 100 different phone companies to get their products from the mature markets of China and Taiwan.


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