The report stated that the company will begin production in the early part of next year. The decision marks the first time that Foxconn, which is based in Taiwan, will make a more expensive iPhone in India. The electronics company already makes Xiaomi phones in the country and has invested $356 million to expand the existing Foxconn plant in the southern state of Tamil Nadu to include assembly for the higher-end iPhone models.
Foxconn’s decision to produce newer Apple mobile tech, such as the iPhone X, could transform the company’s business in the country. Another source told Reuters that the move to produce more expensive iPhones in India could be a way to sidestep the trade war, which has erupted between the U.S. and China.
Apple already has an assembly presence in India — but only for its cheaper SE and 6S models via its deal with Wistron’s local unit based in the Bengaluru tech hub. Customers in India tend to prefer lower-cost iPhone models. In fact, more than half of mobile sales in the country were for iPhone models that were older than the 8 — data which Reuters pulled from Counterpoint, a technology research firm.
It’s not clear if Apple will shift iPhone assembly from existing plants in China as a result of the move. It is also not clear whether it will include component production or only assembly in India.
“Widening iPhone manufacturing in India through Foxconn will allow Apple to hedge the risk of any new U.S. trade policies,” Navkendar Singh, an associate research director at the International Data Corporation, added.