Apple is to start making iPhones in India this year, a local government official said Friday, as the firm looks to tap a booming middle class as sales in China slow. The U.S. giant has not confirmed the move, but chief executive Tim Cook said this week the company intended to "invest significantly" in India, where a pick-up in the economy provides ample opportunity for growth.
"We have an understanding with Apple and we expect them to start manufacturing in Karnataka by the end of April," Priyank Kharge, minister of information technology and biotechnology in southern Karnataka state, told AFP. He said the new operation would likely assemble iPhones for the domestic market. Apple has only a two-percent share of the Indian market, well behind rival Samsung on 23 percent, according to research firm Canalys. However, last year it had 48 percent of the premium sector in which phones sell for $450 and above. Experts said manufacturing locally would reduce the company's costs and enable it to lower prices.
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