To achieve its goal of penetrating the world’s second largest smartphone market, Apple has completed its first trial run assembly of the iPhone SE in India—a key step to getting a foothold in a market that has been elusive for the company.
“We are beginning initial production of a small number of iPhone SE in Bengaluru,” read a company statement to Tech Crunch. “iPhone SE is the most popular and powerful phone with a four-inch display in the world and we’ll begin shipping to domestic customers this month.”
The company wants to take on competitor Samsung, which has dominated the ranks in recent years, with the rest of the top five monopolized by Chinese brands like Xiaomi, Oppo, Lenovo and Vivo.
India is the world’s fastest growing smartphone market, having recently surpassed the U.S. And the Indian market is expected to generate about one billion smartphone sales over the next half-decade.
While Apple has seen some growth in the country, it’s been difficult in a market where the average phone runs $150. With that in mind, the four-inch SE is Apple’s least expensive model, running $399 in the States. Some retailers in the country have managed to undercut the cost, lowering the entry level price by around $80. But that’s still significantly more expensive than most, which is why the SE hasn’t made quite the splash Apple was hoping for in the country.
Yet despite India’s rapid growth, there is not much actual manufacturing occurring there, with recent numbers showing domestic manufacturing and assembly at around six-percent in the country.
The addition of a large global name like Apple has been regarded as a big win by the government. And locals are hoping that the move could reduce the retail cost of the SE even further, by as much as $100.