Apple supplier Wistron reportedly wants to expand its Indian manufacturing operations, and it's close to reaching a deal for a plant where it would make iPhone 6s models in the country.
Currently, the iPhone SE is the only Apple smartphone made in India but if things work out, Wistron could also make the iPhone 6s in India. Wistron is Apple's main manufacturer in India. Although the iPhone 6s is an older model, it's still popular among those who want a good iPhone at an affordable price point.
Many consider that the iPhone 6s currently offers a good value for money, packing good specifications without going anywhere near the steep price point of Apple's latest flagships.
Wistron Close To Expanding India Operations
According to a new report from Reuters, Wistron is close to securing a land deal in India's Bengaluru. The Apple supplier will reportedly invest roughly $157 million to make iPhone SE units at the new site and potentially, iPhone 6s smartphones as well.
Citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter, Reuters says that Wistron's iPhone SE assembly unit in India, ICT Service Management Solutions, has been looking for a land of roughly 100 acres in or around Bengaluru. The sources asked to remain anonymous because they're not supposed to discuss the plans just yet.
Bengaluru is a major tech hub and the capital of Karnataka, a state in southern India. An iPhone manufacturing plant would be well-positioned in Bengaluru and would bring several benefits.
Why It Would Make Sense
The Indian government has recently raised the import tax on mobile phones to 15 percent instead of the previous 10 percent, which would be a great incentive for Apple to find ways to manufacture more iPhone models locally.
The import tax doesn't affect only Apple, but it did hit the iPhone maker more than others. Rivals such as Samsung, for instance, already assemble locally most of the smartphones they sell in the country.
Since Apple only makes the iPhone SE in India, the higher import tax forced the company to hike iPhone prices so it could protect margins. Indian consumers typically look for more affordable devices, however, so Apple would have to find some middle ground so it would not miss out.
Since the iPhone 6s is among the most popular choices of those looking for an affordable iPhone, it would make sense to start making this model in India if Wistron's deal materializes. Apple would be able to offer the iPhone 6s at a more affordable price point, and the Indian government would fulfill its goal to encourage more local manufacturing.
With no official information available at this point, however, take rumors and reports with a grain of salt for now. Neither Apple nor Wistron offered any comment on the matter.