US electronics company Apple is set to begin production of its latest iPhones in India, in a major win for the country.
This move, which had been rumored for months, was confirmed this week by a press release from the government of the Indian state of Karnataka.
“Apple’s representatives […] met with Ministers and officials of Government of Karnataka and had positive discussions about the initiatives in manufacturing and possible collaborations with state Government in other areas,” said Priyank Kharge, Karnataka Minister of State for Information Technology.
The iPhones themselves will reportedly be built in a new factory in the city of Bengaluru.
“Apple’s intentions to manufacture in Bengaluru will foster cutting edge technology ecosystem and supply chain development in the state, which are critical for India to compete globally,” said Kharge.
When production begins, it will make India only the third country globally to host the production of the highly-popular iPhone devices.
Currently, no concrete timeline exists for when the factory in Bengaluru will begin production, however, Indian media is reporting a June 2017 opening date.
For their part, Apple has yet to independently confirm that it will begin manufacturing in India, nor has it provided any information on what its future plans are for the country.
As well, no information exists as to how many jobs will be created in India by the opening of this new factory.
One possible reason for Apple’s continuing silence on this topic may be the domestic political situation in the US.
New President Donald Trump is taking a hard rhetorical line against US companies which manufacture overseas, and Apple may be attempting to not provoke criticism by overtly publicizing a new offshore factory.
Nonetheless, manufacturing in India does have concrete benefits for the company as it allows them to more easily sell their products within the country.
Under current laws, any Apple store that would open in India would have to contain at least 30% locally-manufactured products.