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Not happy with iPhone sales in India, Wistron to tap other smartphone manufacturers

iPhone maker Apple’s local assembler in India, Wistron is planning to set-up smartphone manufacturing unit in Bengaluru, said a Business Standard report.

The Taiwan-based firm, which has not made much of sales of the Apple’s devices, sees opportunity in taping other smartphone manufacturers and diversifying its business. The new unit is expected to come up at Devanahalli, close to the Bengaluru Airport.

The company is eyeing govt’s SOPS for value addition in electronics manufacturing.

“Wistron will be looking to diversify its investment in India. Their current unit is producing around 25,000 odd units of the iPhone, the volume is far too low for them to make money,” Neil Shah, Research Director at Counterpoint Research, was quoted in the report as saying. Apple, in May, working with Taiwanese contract manufacturer Wistron, began assembling the iPhone SE in Bengaluru.

The new unit will help the company tap more smartphone vendors who are looking to waive off import duties and price their devices more competitively. Of late, the Indian government has made policy to support local manufacturers. This has made import bit costly for Global companies.

Indian government raised the customs duty from 10 percent to 15 percent for electronics and mobile products, iPhone maker Apple raised prices across iPhone models in the country.

Last year, Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook made his first trip to the country, meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi and expressing hopes for an expanded presence. Apple had asked for an exemption on imports, which is still in limbo.

Comparatively, Apple has been a smaller player in India, the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market, largely because its phones are more expensive than those of rivals such as Samsung and Xiaomi.

The downfall in sales has seen a dip of 25 to 28 percent. The number of iPhones sold globally fell 1 percent in the first calendar quarter, compared with the same period a year ago. In December, Apple has appointed Michel Coulomb as its top sales executive in India.

In India, Apple is also second to Samsung in used mobiles segment with 20% of share. In 2016, older phones accounted for almost 55 percent of the 2.6 million devices Apple shipped to India.

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