I was in India recently working on a story about Apple’s strategy to win over consumers in the world’s second-most-populous country.
NEW DELHI—Amid concerns that China’s slowing economic growth could sap demand for iPhones, Apple Inc. is increasingly turning its attention to one of the last big countries it has yet to conquer: India.
The Cupertino, Calif., company has been quietly building market share in the world’s second-most-populous nation by boosting advertising, bulking up its distribution network, arranging interest-free phone loans and lowering prices.
On Wednesday, Apple said it has sought the Indian government’s approval to open its own retail stores and sell products online. Apple currently sells its products in India through a network of Indian-owned distribution companies and retailers.
“India has huge potential” for Apple, said Rushabh Doshi, an analyst at research firm Canalys in Singapore.
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With Apple yesterday saying in its quarterly results that iPhone sales have been growing at the slowest pace since the device was introduced in 2007, emerging markets are increasingly important for the tech titan.
That’s because hundreds of millions of people, many of them young, are upgrading smartphones or buying them for the first time in countries like India, Indonesia and Brazil — while at the same time some larger markets, like China, may be getting saturated.
(Price, of course, is an issue in India: The annual GDP per capita is $1500, and Apple is trying to sell phones that cost upwards of $1000 there, though some models also cost less than half that. But as I wrote in the story, Apple offers payment plans, and still sells older, less expensive models like the iPhone 4S and 5S in the country.)
In the conference call for Apple’s earnings, CEO Tim Cook had this to say about India:
Cook also mentions India, saying the demographics looks good for Apple. The population is young, and Apple is putting a lot of resources into building there.
To TimmyG: Cook spent a long time talking about India — longer than I was able to keep up with. But his point was yours: that this big and growing nation is made up of a young population.
Indeed. Stay tuned to see how Apple fares in the quarters and years ahead.