Apple raises iPhone prices after customs duty hike

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New Delhi: Prices of top iPhone models have gone up by an average of 3.5%, except for iPhone SE which Apple Inc. assembles in India, after the government raised import duty on mobile phones by five percentage points on Friday.

When contacted, the company confirmed the change in prices, which are reflected on its website as well.

While the starting price of an iPhone 6 is up by Rs1,280 to Rs30,780, the most expensive iPhone X is dearer by Rs3,720 and will cost over Rs1.05 lakh. The cheapest iPhone 8 will now cost Rs66,120 instead of Rs64,000.

In an attempt to boost local manufacturing and employment, the government on Friday raised customs duty on various electronic products including mobile phones, microwave ovens and cameras. For handsets, customs duty was raised from 10% to 15%.

This, the government hopes, will give local manufacturers a cost advantage over imports, besides raising customs duty collections.

“After the customs duty increase, we could also see a rise in prices of feature phones in the market as their imports had gone up considerably recently,” an industry executive said on condition of anonymity.

The customs duty hike comes at a time when Apple is seeking several incentives from the government for it to expand manufacturing in India, which it terms as one of its fastest growing markets.

Apple chief executive officer (CEO) Tim Cook, in a post-earnings conference call with investors in November, had mentioned that revenue from emerging markets outside of greater China was up 40%, with great momentum in India, where revenue doubled year over year.

“I feel like we’re making good progress there and are gaining understanding of the market, but we still have a long way to go, which I sort of see as an opportunity instead of a problem. And I do feel great about the growth rate. And so that’s India,” Cook had then said.

Mint had reported earlier this month that the company was close to crossing $2 billion in sales from India.

According to documents posted with the Registrar of Companies, Apple India Pvt. Ltd posted sales of Rs11,619 crore ($1.8 billion) for the year ended March 2017, compared with Rs9,937 crore in the year-ago period—which translates to an increase of 17%. However, in the preceding 12 months ended March 2016, Apple India had reported a growth of 53%.