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India says no to most of Apple's demands

Manish Singh

Apple is not getting any special treatment from the Indian government. 

Despite the company’s imminent plans to begin manufacturing iPhones in the country, the Indian government remains committed to not folding to the Cupertino giant’s demands. 

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When asked if the government has accepted the iPhone maker’s demands, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman told Rajya Sabha (Council of States) that the ministry has said "no" to "most" of them.

Apple has put up an "unprecedented" list of demands before the government. "Apple India has sought concessions, including duty exemptions on manufacturing and repair units, components, capital equipment including parts and consumables for smartphone manufacturing and service/repair for a period of 15 years," Sitharaman added.

Apple sees big potential in India. The company’s CEO paid his maiden visit to the nation last year and expressed desires to bolster the company’s business in the country.

Even though India remains one of the few places that has shown strong iPhone sales, there is no easy way for Apple to continue the momentum.

For one, more than 50 percent of iPhones sold in the nation last year were iPhone 5s models. The four-year-old iPhone sells for under $300 in the country.

Analysts say the company needs to lower the prices of the iPhone, which are higher in India due to domestic import laws. Apple's solution of sorts was to try to convince the Indian government to permit sales of refurbished iPhones — a proposal India was quick to discard

Now Apple’s biggest bet at making iPhones affordable (and possibly to get India to say yes to refurbished iPhones) is if it could start manufacturing locally. 

The Indian government offers various benefits to overseas companies to setup manufacturing plants in India as such efforts help in creation of new jobs and foster the development of cities and states. 

Mashable was first to report about Apple’s plans to manufacture iPhone SE in India starting as early as April. It appears Apple will have to make do with the same usual incentives that other international brands get.

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