Apple may start iPhone 6S Plus production at a new factory in southern India to lower the model’s price, local media outlet The Economic Times reported today. It may start manufacturing in Bengaluru, formerly known as Bangalore, in two weeks.
By setting up a local factory, Apple aims to slash Indian iPhone prices, as a response to government policies that tax foreign phones. India’s government raised tariffs on smartphones from 15 to 20 percent in February, forcing Apple to seek new measures to drop its prices and stay competitive. Local manufacturing could cut prices by 5–7 percent, according to the report, if Apple manages to make all iPhone 6S Pluses sold in the Indian market domestically. If prices drop that low, iPhones could become as affordable as OnePlus phones or certain Samsung phones, The Economic Times notes.
Another way for Apple to cut additional costs would be to make parts and packaging all within India as well. Earlier this month, the Indian government announced a 10 percent customs duty on circuitboards, camera modules, connectors, and other parts, The Economic Times reports. A lot of the policies are meant to boost the local smartphone economy in India.
In India, the almost three-year-old iPhone 6S Plus remains popular as it costs less than other flagships like the iPhone 8 or X but has many of the same core features such as a 5.5-inch retina display, a 12-megapixel camera, and 4K video recording. The iPhone 6S Plus also has the advantage of coming in rose gold, a discontinued color for newer iPhones. Another, older model, the iPhone SE, is also succeeding in the market because of its cheaper price, in part a result of being built locally.
The iPhone 6S Plus will be the second phone assembled in India, but since it’s not fully manufactured there, it will still be subject to certain taxes. According to The Economic Times, Apple may add more models to production in the months to come.
An IDC report from last year noted that Apple only controlled 2 percent of India’s smartphone market and analysts recommended the company focus on a “premium positioning of its smartphones.”