- Customs duty on phones raised to 15% from 10%
- That was set to make imported phones, including iPhone X, costlier
- Apple Inc has increased the prices of most of its iPhone models
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government strives to boost manufacturing of phones in India - the world's second-biggest market by mobile subscriptions and among the top three countries by annual smartphone sales, it last week raised the customs duty on phones to 15 per cent from 10 per cent.
That was set to make imported phones, including Apple iPhones, costlier. Some other top phone brands, such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Xiaomi, assemble the majority of their phones sold in the Indian market locally.
Apple's Taiwanese contract manufacturer, Wistron, assembles the iPhone SE in the technology hub of Bengaluru in southern India. Apple also has plans to expand local manufacturing in India but wants a range of incentives and tax breaks from the federal government which New Delhi has yet to agree to.
An analyst said a small increase in the price of iPhones was unlikely to dent Apple's less than 3 per cent market share in India, where it's seen as an aspirational brand but its steep pricing puts it beyond the reach of many.
"Apple's halo as a premium brand in India cannot be taken away by this meagre price rise," said Navkendar Singh of technology researcher IDC.
Basic or feature phones still comprise a large chunk of India's roughly 750 million mobile phones, although sales of smartphones are growing faster. Alphabet Inc's Google earlier this month unveiled a new version of its Android mobile phone software with an aim to power low-cost entry-level smartphones.