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By Sankalp Phartiyal
MUMBAI, July 11 (Reuters) – Top-end iPhones manufactured in India by Foxconn's local unit are expected to be available in Indian stores next month, sources said Perhaps the tech giant will help drop prices in the world's second largest smartphone market.
Some approvals are pending, but the iPhone XR and XS devices manufactured in India are expected to hit the market in August, the source said, not asking to be named because the matter was not public be.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for a comment. Foxconn said that there are no comments on customers or their products.
The expansion of local assembly helps Apple to save high taxes on the import of finished goods and meet local procurement standards for opening its own retail stores in India.
Apple's devices are hugely popular with millions of Indians, but the premium price has narrowed its market share to a meager 1
Reuters had previously reported that the local unit of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co, commonly known as Foxconn, this year would begin assembling devices of the iPhone X family in the southern state of Tamil Nadu in India.
Cupertino, California, is headquartered in Apple. In addition, the cheaper SE, 6S and 7 models in India will be delivered through Wistron Corp.'s local unit. mounted in the technology center of Bengaluru.
"Local production gives Apple the ability to play with their distributors' margins and offer their phones indirectly at lower prices," said Rushabh Doshi, research director at technology consulting firm Canalys.
The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to position South Asia's third largest economy as a hub for the manufacture of smartphones, to promote global players with access to a market with over a billion wireless connections and cheap labor.
This push has had some success as global smartphone giants such as Samsung and the Chinese company Oppo expand rapidly in India and contract manufacturers such as Foxconn have increased their domestic business.
Companies like Apple could not only meet local demand, but also use India as an export center to mitigate the effects of a bloody trade war between the US and China, technology analysts said.
Apple cut its first-quarter revenue forecast and blamed the slowdown in iPhone sales in China, where uncertainty over US-China trade relations weighed on the economy.
Some of the Wistron-mounted iPhone 6s and 7 are being exported from India to European markets, said Neil Shah, a Hong Kong-based technology researcher, Counterpoint.
Wistrons head from India declined to comment. (Report by Sankalp Phartiyal Editing by Euan Rocha and Alexandra Hudson)