Apple Inc on Wednesday indicated to the government that it is ready with a blueprint to begin manufacturing iPhones in India, but wants fiscal concessions, including Customs duty waiver on import of components.
Apple executives made a detailed presentation on its road map for setting up a manufacturing unit in India to an inter-ministerial group headed by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion Secretary Ramesh Abhishek, sources privy to the development said.
The presentation was made by senior executives of the company, including Global Vice-President (iPhone operations) Priya Balasubramanian. It cited the country's business friendly ecosystem for keenness to start local manufacturing. With sales tapering in the US and China, Apple is eyeing India –the fastest growing smartphone market –and looking to set up a local manufacturing unit to cut costs. It, however, does not manufacture devices on its own and rather does it through contract manufacturers. Besides exemption from the Customs duty on imports of components and equipment for 15 years, Apple wants relaxation in the mandated 30 per cent local sourcing of components. When contacted, Apple spokesperson said: "We have been working hard to develop our operations in India and are proud to deliver the best products and services in the world to our customers here."
The spokesperson added: "We appreciate the constructive and open dialogue we have had with the government about further expanding our local operations." On the duty and tax-related concessions being sought by the company, the sources said most of them are within the policy domain and decisions will be taken by the respective departments.
"They are seeking certain duty exemptions and other concessions. Respective departments will look at those demands," they added.
The official also said the company has indicated that it would gradually make India a major manufacturing hub for its products. "The company setting up its manufacturing unit in India is going to be a reality. They have full-fledged plans. There is no policy impediment. They would also bring their supply chains," the sources divulged. The company executives on Tuesday called on Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
In a communication to the government, the Cupertino-based technology major has asked for several tax and other incentives, including long-term duty exemptions, to enter the manufacturing sector in India. Currently, the government provides support by way of benefits under the Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme to boost electronic manufacturing.