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Apple to make iPhones in India, where they're just taking off

As Apple works to increase its presence in India, an official there says the company's ready to start local manufacture of iPhones.

An iPhone 7 on display in an Apple Store in China.

Zhang Peng, LightRocket via Getty Images

Some iPhones could soon come with a "made in India" label.

Priyank Kharge, IT minister for the Indian state of Karnataka, said Thursday on Twitter: "Apple's intentions to make iPhones in Bengaluru will foster cutting-edge technology ecosystem & supply chain development in the state."

Kharge also gave a statement to local press expressing his approval for "Apple Inc.'s proposal to commence initial manufacturing operations in the state," according to a report by Buzzfeed News. Assembly of iPhones there should begin by the end of April, Reuters reported.

The city of Bengaluru, formerly known as Bangalore, is already home to an Apple iOS design and development center.

India, the second most populous country in the world, represents a huge potential market for Apple and other tech companies. In 2016, Apple sold a modest 2.5 million iPhones in India, which earned it the top spot among premium phones but which was good enough for only 10th place among all phones sold there. It has to contend with fierce competition, most notably from Chinese companies including Xiaomi, Lenovo and Vivo.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, Apple sold a record 78.3 million iPhones worldwide, contributing heavily to the company's revenue for the quarter of $78.4 billion.

Apple did not immediately respond to our request for comment, but directed Buzzfeed to a statement it released a few weeks ago: "We've been working hard to develop our operations in India and are proud to deliver the best products and services in the world to our customers here. We appreciate the constructive and open dialogue we've had with government about further expanding our local operations."

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