Apple Set to Begin iPhone Production in India by April

Apple will start making iPhones in India this year, a local government official said Friday, as the company seeks to tap into a booming Indian middle class while sales in China slow.

According to a new report from Bloomberg, Apple will begin building its iconic iPhones in India within the next few months. Citing Karnataka’s state information technology minister Priyank Kharge, Bloomberg reported production in that country will kick off in Bengaluru by the end of April. Taiwan-based Wistron Corp. will be responsible for assembling the devices, the report said.

Kharge stated in a Tweet “Apple’s intentions to make iPhones in Bengaluru will foster cutting-edge technology ecosystem and supply chain development in the state.” He also added that all Indian-produced iPhones will be sold in the domestic market as they have negotiated with the Indian government for tax exemptions and incentives.

For Apple, India is more important than it has ever been before. According to Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments saw a modest growth of 3 percent in 2016, but India’s smartphone user base is growing exponentially. With increasing internet connectivity and 4G penetration, India is poised for a digital boom and Apple wants to tap into this growth.

On an earnings call earlier this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company posted all-time record revenue results in the country during the fourth quarter despite a demonetization move in India that created “lots of economic pressure.”

“I feel really good about how we’re doing there,” Cook said. “We are in discussions on a number of things, including retail stores, and fully intend to invest significantly in the country and believe it’s a great place to be.”