Apple Inc. is willing to start making iPhones in India, but it wants a big helping hand from Narendra Modi’s government first.
The Cupertino, California-based company is scheduled to meet with officials in New Delhi next week to discuss the prospects for setting up manufacturing facilities in the country this year. Apple, the most valuable company on Earth, is asking for a long list of financial concessions from India, one of the poorest countries. Among the requests, the company is seeking a 15-year tax holiday on imports of components and equipment, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter.
“We would like Apple to set up base in India,” Ravi Shankar Prasad, minister for information technology said on Wednesday, without disclosing the company’s negotiating stance.
Apple wants to boost business in India as the country of 1.3 billion becomes the fastest-growing smartphone market and sales flatten in the U.S. and China. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook visited the country for the first time in May as he sought government approval for Apple to open its own stores. India has insisted that Apple, like any single-brand retailer, source 30 percent of its components locally, though the country is relaxing those rules so technology companies can operate stores for three years before meeting that requirement.