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Apple hikes iPhone prices in India thanks to increase in customs duties

Apple's (L-R) iPhone 11 Pro Max, 11 Pro and 11 on display. (Photo: REUTERS/Jason Lee/Files)

NEW DELHI: Apple Inc. has announced a minor increase in prices of some of its iPhones in India, citing changes made to import duties in the Union Budget 2020.

Following the hike, the iPhone 11 Pro Max will have a starting price of 1,11,200 for the 64 GB variant, while the 256 GB version will cost 1,25,200. The 512 GB will retail for 1,43,200. Prior to the increase, the 64 GB variant of iPhone 11 Pro Max had a starting price of 1,09,000.

Price of iPhone 11 Pro will also increase marginally, with the 64 GB variant selling for 1,01,200 compared with 99,900 earlier. The 256 GB will now cost 1,15,200 and the 512 GB will retail for 1,33,200. Prices of iPhone 11 Pro series have been raised by 1,300.

Prices of iPhone 8 have also increased, with the 64 GB variant of iPhone 8 Plus now priced at 50,600, and the 128 GB at 55,600. The earlier starting price for the model was 49,900. The 64 GB and 128 GB variants of iPhone 8 will sell for 40,500 and 45,500 respectively.

Prices of iPhone XR, iPhone 11, iPhone 7, iPad, Apple Watch and Mac laptops have not been raised. The company assembles iPhone XR and iPhone 7 in India, which is why prices for these phones have not changed. The other products are imported from China.

Apple said prices are being hiked due to an increase in the basic customs duty (BCD) rate and the withdrawal of “earlier exemption from BCD/Social Welfare Surcharge” announced by the government in the Union Budget for 2020-21.

The company is preparing to launch its first online store in India this year, chief executive Tim Cook said in a shareholders’ meeting recently. Cook also said that the company plans to launch its first brick and mortar retail store in India in 2021.

The announcement came a few months after the Indian government relaxed local sourcing norms for electronics in India. Apple is yet to acquire the license for opening its own retail store here, but Cook said the company is working with the government to get the same.

Being able to open its own stores in India will allow Apple to increase its product portfolio here and also offer other services such as the full-fledged AppleCare service. While the company does sell almost all its products here in India, retailing through its own channels will allow greater control on pricing. That said, products being wholly imported from overseas will still be impacted by changes in taxes.