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For Apple CEO Tim Cook, India is the Next 'Play Store'

For several years, India played an insignificant better-half of Apple Inc’s Asia sales.

Published: 28th January 2016 04:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 28th January 2016 04:06 AM   |  A+A-

Tim Cook_AP

Apple CEO Tim Cook discusses the Apple TV product advancements during the Apple event at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco.

CHENNAI: For several years, India played an insignificant better-half of Apple Inc’s Asia sales. But as the turbo-charged volume growth in China peters out amid the company’s slowest ever quarterly sales, for the iconic iPhone maker, India has finally arrived.

According to Tim Cook, CEO, Apple, the world’s third largest smartphone market presents a “very good business environment” going ahead.

“It’s (India) a very rapidly expanding country. And I think the government in India is very interested in economic reforms and so forth that I think all speak to a really good business environment for the future,” Cook said on Wednesday adding that India may “quickly become the fastest growing BRIC country.”

Cook said the company was “putting increasingly more energy in India” and will continue to invest here for the long-term. “India’s growth, as you know, is very good. It’s quickly becoming the fastest growing BRIC country. It’s the third largest smartphone market in the world, behind China and the US,” Cook said.

And that’s why, it intends to set up company-owned retail outlets and is believed to have reached out to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion for approval. Currently, it retails via franchises and online portals. On the other hand, China already has 28 Apple-owned stores with plans to add another 12.

“Apple has been aggressive in the Indian market for sometime and will continue the pace,” Anshul Gupta, Research Director, Gartner India told Express.

According to CyberMedia Research, Apple’s shipments in India grew 161 and 162 per cent in 2014 and 2015 respectively, reaching a little over 2 million units. This momentum will remain as Apple maintained its 2% share in the smartphone market.

“However, with the rupee depreciation, revenue realisation from India in terms of dollar is likely to decline, as it would be difficult for Apple to up the MRP in Indian rupee as well to offset the rupee fall impact. Apple should be doing about 350-400,000 units this quarter, which is in the range of what it does in Q1,” said Faisal Kawoosa, Lead Analyst, telecom practice, CyberMedia Research (CMR).

The Upshot

Apple’s India revenue was up 38 per cent; in constant currency, growth was 48 per cent

Volume-wise, iPhone sales grew 76 per cent

Plans to set up Apple-owned stores in India

For the first time since the launch of iPhone, Apple’s revenue forecast looks downbeat at $50-$53 billion for the first three months of 2016.

What spooked investors?

Apple reported the slowest sales ever of its market-leading iPhone for the quarter ended Dec , 26

Can India do a la China?

India is an enticing market. But, may not match China volumes. Reason: premium segment phones priced above Rs 50,0000 comprise 0.6 per cent to overall smartphone sales, as per CMR data. “Apple, has to go with the pace for now as far as India market is concerned and as we evolve a stage from 3-5 years from now, where the premium segment of above Rs 50,000 starts contributing 5 per cent of smartphone sales by volume.

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