An iPhone. Photo: YouTube
Apple may embed tracking capability in its smartphone operating system; Google may do the same with Android. Photo: YouTube

With the aim of boosting lackluster sales in the world’s fastest growing mobile phone market, iPhone contractor Foxconn has reportedly firmed up plans to assemble high-end models in India.

The Taiwanese contract manufacturer will invest more than 15 billion rupees (US$214.2 million) in new production lines to manufacture iPhone models at its factory in Sriperumbudur near Chennai, the Economic Times reported.

It will be the first time Foxconn has assembled Apple products in the country. It already makes phones for Chinese handset maker Xiaomi Corp at its Sriperumbudur plant.

Apple has been assembling the lower-cost SE and 6S models in India through Taiwanese contract manufacturer Wistron Corp’s local unit in Bangalore. iPhone sales in India have been mainly driven by lower-end models as India’s high import tariffs make its top end models prohibitively expensive.

The Indian government has been aggressively following a policy to push electronics producers into manufacturing locally by steadily increasing tariffs from simple phone cases to sophisticated chipsets and boards.

While smartphone giants including Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, Oppo and Xiaomi Corp have responded favorably by investing millions of dollars to build plants in India, Apple has more or less stayed away.

The company imports about 70% to 80% of its phones, which results in high import duties, which in turn make the phones expensive. With the proposed Foxconn plant in India, the Cupertino, California-based handset maker will be reaching out to a wider market.

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