An iPhone. Photo: YouTube

Apple’s iPhone has always enjoyed a cult following with vast numbers of people around the world aspiring to own one of its high-end models, if they could afford it.

However, in the Indian market, stiff competition in the premium segment has now forced Apple to bite the bullet – reduce the price of the iPhone XR by nearly 17,000 rupees (US$247) to boost sales, Economic Times reports.

The giant phone-maker is dropping the selling price of all three types of iPhone XR – the 64 GB will be sold at 59,900 rupees as against 76,900 rupees, while the 128 GB model will be sold at 64,900 rupees, down from 81,900 rupees earlier, and the 256 GB model will be sold at 74,900 rupees, down from 91,900 rupees, the daily said.

In the premium segment, Apple competes with South Korea’s Samsung and China’s Xiaomi and the latest data shows that sales are plunging. According to Hong Kong-based Counterpoint Technology Market Research, Apple’s shipments to India in 2018 were 1.6 to 1.7 million, up to 50% lower than the level in 2017.

In the Indian market, the Cupertino-based phone-maker faces twin challenges – depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar and 20% import duties because it does not manufacture its flagship models in India.

In a related development, there are reports that Apple may start production of iPhone X handsets in India, through its primary component manufacturer Foxconn, which has a facility in Chennai.

Currently, some of the low-end iPhone models are assembled at a facility run by its Taiwanese component partner Wistron in Bangalore. The Wistron plant currently assembles the iPhone SE, iPhone 6 and last month started assembling the iPhone 7.

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