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Apple confirms plan to produce iPhone SE locally in India

Credit: Andrew O'Hara, AppleInsider

Apple on Monday confirmed plans to locally manufacture the iPhone SE in India, likely a part of a broader strategy to bolster its footprint in the country.

In June, the company reportedly told some of its China-based suppliers to begin shipping components for its most affordable handset to Indian manufacturing partners. The move would mitigate the heavy host of import taxes and duties in India.

An Apple spokesperson recently confirmed those plans to The Times of India, saying that the "iPhone SE packs our most powerful chip into our most popular size at our most affordable price and we're excited to be making it in India for our local customers."

Making the iPhone SE locally allows Apple to skirt the 20% import tax on foreign-made smartphones. However, there's still a price premium on the device in India, since it starts at 42,990 Indian rupees — about $579 in U.S. dollars. That's well above its $399 price tag in the U.S.

According to the The Times, Apple supply chain partner Wistron is set to produce the iPhone SE at a plant near Bengaluru — where the company already produces the iPhone 7. Apple partner Foxconn also has an assembly unit in India, though it is not involved with iPhone SE production.

Apple is also reportedly planning on producing upcoming "iPhone 12" models within India's borders, with the first batch of locally made devices set to launch in mid-2021.

Although the iPhone maker has largely struggled to establish a supply chain in India, it has increasingly pushed existing suppliers to produce its devices in the country. Apple is also in the midst of broadening its retail footprint in India, with plans to open the first Indian Apple Store in 2021.