An Indian information minister in Karnataka, home of the Indian tech hub Bangalore, says that an agreement has been reached with Apple to begin iPhone assembly there as early as April. The iPhone assembly plant, Priyank Kharge told Reuters, will be run by Wistron Corp — a Taiwan-based longtime Apple manufacturing partner. Apple’s manufacturing product in Bangalore should pave its entry into direct retail in India.
Currently Apple is forced to sell its products in India through Indian distributors rather than directly through its own stores. This is because of an Indian rule that requires foreign retailers to source at least 30% of materials for their products from India before they can sell directly. Interestingly, the Indian rule requiring a local percentage quota for products resembles proposals that US President Donald Trump made on the campaign trail, as he repeatedly threatened companies who neglected American resources (both human and natural) in their manufacturing. With its reported move into India, Apple no doubt sees advantages beyond opening up retail by meeting the government’s requirements. But it also demonstrates a willingness to comply with nation-based business requirements, given the right incentives.