After years of conversations, it is sacramental: as announced by Tim Cook at the company’s last shareholders meeting, Apple will finally begin selling its products directly on India still in 2020 – first, through its own online store, to be followed by the opening of one (or more, we still don’t know) physical store next year.
This does not mean, however, that the trail to this beginning will be smooth and without obstacles: according to the The Hindu BusinessLine, the Apple needed increase recently the price of some models of iPhones in India – all because of a tax increase recently announced by the federal government.
The new taxes for iPhones (and imported goods in general) are yet another measure of the Indian government designed to enhance the local industry. It is worth noting that iPhone models made in India, such as the XR and 7, do not enter this list and continue with the usual price.
The increases are hardly scary: devices like the iPhone 11 Pro [Max] it’s the iPhone 8 [Plus] their labels increased by about 2% of their original value. However, news like this is never good for Apple – especially in a country where the company is struggling to gain space precisely because of the lower middle-income population and the presence of much more affordable local competitors. Let’s see if the official arrival of Apple retail there will help in this scenario.
A little hand from Trump
What few people knew about this whole story is that there is a good deal of help from the White House in it. In a declaration to the Fox News, Tim Cook stated that the Trump government was responsible for talking to the Indian government and facilitating the relaxation of Indian tax rules, paving the way for the arrival of Apple retail in the country.
More specifically, India requires that foreign companies have at least 30% of their production located within the country before opening their own stores there. That’s a rate that Apple hasn’t yet reached – even with the vendor’s hard work Wistron, which already makes some models of iPhones in three factories in India and is already assembling circuit boards for Apple locally.
This does not mean that Apple is exactly flying in India: a recent article from Wall Street Journal showed the negative effects of Apple’s dependence on China (or, more specifically, Chinese factories), analyzing the consequences of the Coronavirus outbreak for the Cupertino giant’s strategies. Among them, the WSJ cites a failed plan to produce iPhones 11 in India:
The tech giant suspended the initiative before setting up a single production line for the device [iPhone 11], said a source with knowledge of the subject. India was not ready to offer enough specialized work or the robust infrastructure that Apple expected. The company chose to manufacture the iPhone 11 only in China, after all.
In other words, Apple’s first plan to produce one of its iPhones flagship outside China went wrong – which further weighs on the Trump administration’s help in putting India on the company’s map.
via The Next Web, Cult of Mac