It seems as if Apple’s desire to manufacture products in India is getting closer and closer to reality. According to a new report from the Wall Street Journal, a team from Apple on Wednesday met with senior Indian government officials to seek tax concessions for manufacturing and setting up its stores in India.
It may be some time though, before Apple gets permission for its proposal to manufacture in India as it reportedly involves a request for deep cuts in the import duties for components. The meeting on Wednesday is said to have ended inconclusively, according to sources close to the situation.
The Apple executives included Priya Balasubramaniam, a company vice president.
“We’ve been working hard to develop our operations in India and are proud to deliver the best products and services in the world to our customers here,” Apple said in a statement after the meeting. “We appreciate the constructive and open dialogue we’ve had with government about further expanding our local operations.”
India is now one of Apple’s fastest growing markets, with iPhone sales up over 50 percent in fiscal 2016 compared to the previous year. The high growth comes largely from a small user base of its products in the country, but with recent rollouts of 4G networks, the company expects more demand for its devices.
If the deal is done, India could quickly become one of Apple’s most important markets going forward. Apple currently has a 5% share of the smartphone market in India but one that is growing at a very rapid clip. With products produced locally, Apple could increase mindshare and market share at an even faster pace thus making serious inroads into a country that has one of the largest and fastest growing middle class globally.
Market research firms say that India will soon overtake the U.S. as the second largest smartphone market in the world behind only China. As such, India is a crucial market for Apple’s long term success.