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Rumored new Foxconn iPhone plant in India lurches forward, timetable for opening unknown

Foxconn's delayed plans to build a manufacturing plant in Maharashtra, India may finally bear fruit, with Foxconn executives reportedly meating with the region's Chief Minister to hammer out some details.

The Hindu Business Line has reported that Maharashtra's Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis met with with Foxconn recently. After the meeting, the minister announced that Foxconn had confirmed its commintment to the area, despite some significant delays in selecting a parcel of land.

The original commitment, made in early 2016, was reportedly for a 1,200-acre plot of land in Maharashtra, on top of which would be built a manufacturing plant serving Foxconn's clients, including Apple. From the time a deal legitimately starts, sources estimate it will be about 18 months before the facility is operational.

Business concerns, including price of land, access to services, as well as slightly lower than expected earnings from Foxconn since the original deal was forged may have led to the delays in the project. How far along the discussions actually are isn't clear — Foxconn has refused comment on the matter, and despite the minister's tweets, other similar communications from government officials regarding Apple's intentions and deals have not been accurate.

Apple's requests to the India government include a 15-year tax holiday on imported components and equipment, as well as a waiver on customs duties for the latter whether new or used. Apple is said to be treating its demands as a "wish list," rather than a set of absolute musts before Apple will bring its partners in.

Apple appears to be partnering with Wistron to fulfill the India requirement on local sourcing of goods sold in-country, rather than dealing exclusively with Foxconn.