Home / Companies / News /  Apple meets officials, seeks easing of norms to make iPhones in India

New Delhi: Apple Inc. on Wednesday made a detailed presentation to an inter-ministerial group about its plans to manufacture iPhones in India but insisted on easier import rules and sought long-term fiscal concessions as pre-conditions for expanding its operations in the country.

A government official present at the meeting said the presentation was made to officials from the departments of electronics, revenue, environment and commerce and industry. “No decision has been taken yet. The electronics and revenue departments have been asked to submit their responses on the demands of Apple, after which a decision will be taken," the official said, requesting anonymity.

The Wall Street Journal quoted an unnamed government official as saying “it’s almost a done deal" and adding that many of the things sought by Apple are “workable". Mint couldn’t independently confirm this. WSJ also quoted a second government official on the nature of the incentives sought by Apple—a 15 year tax holiday on the import of components.

Apple executives, including global vice-president (iPhone operations) Priya Balasubramanian, met commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday.

“We have been working hard to develop our operations in India. We appreciate the constructive and open dialogue we have had with the government about further expanding our local operations," an Apple spokesperson said in an e-mail.

The Times of India reported on 30 December that Apple planned to make iPhones for the Indian market in Bengaluru through Wistron Corp., a Taiwanese electronics manufacturer which is setting up a facility in Peenya, the city’s industrial hub.

Cupertino-based Apple had earlier sought and failed to receive a waiver from the government on local sourcing norms for its branded stores in India.

Apple’s sales in India crossed the $1 billion mark for the first time in 2015, according to results filed with the registrar of companies.

Still, Apple has a minuscule market share of under 2% in India’s smartphone market, compared with South Korean rival Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, the leader in India’s smartphone market, which has a share of 21%.

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