Apple partner Wistron seeks to expand
India smartphone parts plant: government official
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[January 02, 2017]
By Sankalp Phartiyal
MUMBAI (Reuters) - Smartphone component
maker Wistron Corp, which counts Apple Inc among its customers, has
applied for permission to expand its plant in the Indian city of
Bengaluru, a high-ranking regional government official said on Monday.
The Taiwanese contract manufacturer has also requested that its
application be fast-tracked, the official at the state government of
Karnataka in southern India told Reuters.
The move comes less than two weeks after the Wall Street Journal
reported that Apple was in talks with India's federal government about
the possibility of assembling products in one of the world's biggest
smartphone markets, where the U.S. tech firm controls less than 2
Apple setting up production in India would be a significant win for the
government which has embarked on a major campaign to attract global
manufacturers under the slogan "Make in India".
"Wistron has approached us to expedite certain clearances with regards
to the augmentation and expansion of its existing unit," said the
official, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter and so
declined to be identified.
Whether Apple will begin manufacturing in India is unknown, but
Wistron's desire to expand "pretty quickly" could represent "several
steps in that direction," the official said.
Apple did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment. Wistron
could not be reached for comment.
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Men ride on motorbikes past an Apple iPhone SE advertisement
billboard in Mumbai, India, April 26, 2016. REUTERS/Shailesh Andrade
Analysts have said local manufacturing could come as part of a wider
strategy for Apple to expand in India and even lower prices after
Chief Executive Tim Cook visited the country in May and met Prime
Minister Narendra Modi.
"Certainly that (local manufacturing) will help in some level of
cost optimization," said Gartner research director Anshul Gupta.
"Because looking at the current tax structure, local facilities do
provide some kind of cost advantage."
Another of Apple's Taiwanese suppliers, Hon Hai Precision Industry
Co Ltd - commonly known as Foxconn - also has a manufacturing
facility in southern India.
(Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal; Editing by Christopher Cushing)
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