Apple is to start making iPhones in India this year, a local government official said yesterday, as the firm looks to tap a booming middle class.
The US giant has not confirmed the move, but chief executive Tim Cook said this week the company intended to "invest significantly" in India.
Mr Priyank Kharge, Karnataka state's Minister for Information Technology and Biotechnology, told AFP that manufacturing is expected to start end April, and that the operation is likely to assemble iPhones for the domestic market.
Apple has only a 2 per cent share of the Indian market, well behind rival Samsung's 23 per cent, according to research firm Canalys.
But it had 48 per cent of the premium sector, in which phones sell for above US$450 (S$636) last year.
Apple currently sells its phones in India through third-party retailers. Analysts said if confirmed, the move would be a coup for India's government, which has been trying to persuade foreign companies to manufacture in the country. - AFP