A man holds Apple's new smartphones, the iPhone 11 Pro, left, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max at the Steve Jobs Theater on the group's California campus. Photo: AFP / Christoph Dernbach / dpa

As part of scaling up its manufacturing presence in India, Apple has started trial production of its flagship iPhone 13 in the country.

The iconic phone maker plans to manufacture the popular model at its contract manufacturer Foxconn’s plant near Chennai, the Economic Times reported. Apple expects to start commercial production of the iPhone 13 by February and will cater to both the domestic and international markets.

The iPhone 13 is now its largest selling model in India. Pre-orders for this model were thrown open in India on September 17 and received a record response. The iPhone 13 comes at three price points – 79,900 rupees, 89,000 rupees and 109,900 rupees (US$1,055, $1,175 and $1,451).

In overall sales, the lower-priced models such as the iPhone 11 and 12 contribute the most in India.

Apple started production in India in 2017 and now manufactures the iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 at the Foxconn plant and iPhone SE at its other contract manufacturer Wistron’s plant in Bangalore. About 70% of the Apple smartphones sold in the country are manufactured indigenously.

The smartphone maker is planning to manufacture all its top-selling models in the country. Apple’s contract manufacturers Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron have plants in India. Last year, the three companies were among the 22 firms that registered for the Indian government’s production-linked incentive scheme.

Under the scheme, the government offers incentives to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in mobile phone manufacturing and specified electronic components, including assembly, testing, marking and packaging units. The three Apple suppliers have committed roughly $900 million over five years to make iPhones in India.

The US tech giant is also planning to bring iPad manufacturing to the country as it looks to reduce its dependence on China. Apple now assembles the bulk of its iPads in China, but is fast diversifying production to markets such as India and Vietnam to minimize the impact of the US-China trade war.

According to Counterpoint Research, Apple has now emerged as the fastest-growing smartphone brand in the July-September quarter with 212% year-on-year growth. It enjoys a leadership position in the premium smartphone market (handsets priced above 30,000 rupees) with a 44% share.

The brand also maintained its lead in the ultra-premium segment (handsets priced more than 45,000 rupees) with a 74% share.