Apple will reportedly start building its most expensive phones, including the iPhone X, XS and XR, in India starting in 2019, according to Reuters. Assembly of the devices will take place at a plant in Sriperumbudur operated by controversial tech manufacturing firm Foxconn. Apple has struggled to gain footing in the region where the company has faced slow sales and an executive exodus.
This won’t be Apple’s first venture into manufacturing in India. The company began having the iPhone SE and 6S assembled within the country’s borders back in 2017 but hasn’t been able to make much of a dent with the lower-end devices. It’s been hard for Apple to bring its higher-end line into the region because of high tariffs placed on imported smartphones by the Indian government. In order to bypass those costs, Apple will make its iPhone X line of devices in the country rather than trying to import them.
While Apple holds about 13 percent of the smartphone market share worldwide, it has just two percent of the market in India according to a Bloomberg report earlier this year. It moved fewer than one million devices in the country during the first half of 2018, so expanding its lineup probably can’t make things any worse.