Apple is reportedly investing $1 billion to start assembling iPhone in India. A report citing an unofficial source yesterday claimed that iPhone maker is working with Foxconn to expand local manufacturing in the country. The Cupertino-based iPhone maker is reportedly looking to make iPhone in India and export it to its global retail markets. The move is widely seen as Apple’s attempt to look beyond China for manufacturing iPhones. Now, the notion has received a big boost from Law and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad himself.

He told media that all electronics companies are bullish on the Indian market and iPhone maker Apple is coming here with big business plans. Prasad said that during his regime, handset factories in India has increased from 2 to 268, including component makers. The Government on Monday exhorted Apple to expand manufacturing base in India and use the country as an export hub. It has also promised to line up fresh incentives and sops to galvanize electronics as well as the phone industry in the coming 2-3 months.

“All are gung-ho about India. Even Apple is going to come to India in a big way. Samsung has come. My focus area now is strategic electronics, defence electronics and medical electronics. I would urge leading lights of the industry that this is a promising area of growth,” Prasad said while speaking at an AIMA event. The minister urged the industry leaders to engage in the medical electronics business.

After its initial push for Make in India, the government is now encouraging companies to make for the world. Apple has already begun local assembly of select iPhone models in the country. It has partnered with Wistron for local assembly of iPhone SE, iPhone 6S and iPhone 7 in India. It has also reportedly begun trial runs for assembly of iPhone X in partnership with Foxconn.

The local manufacturing of iPhone in India will help the company better compete with OnePlus and Samsung in the premium smartphone segment. It is also seen as a way to meet the 30 percent local sourcing norms for retail operations in the country. Apple is reportedly planning to open three brick-and-mortar stores in India and establish online sales.

(Written with PTI Inputs)