Alongside posting an as high as 16 percent year-on-year growth in its overall revenue in the fiscal second quarter, Apple has set a new first-half record in India. CEO Tim Cook revealed the new achievement during Apple’s earnings call for the second quarter of 2018. Cook also assured that the company is in plans to bring all of its different initiatives “from retail and everything else” to leverage the market potential in India. The latest comments from the executive notably come months after the Union Cabinet opened an avenue for Apple Stores in the country by approving a proposal to allow 100 percent FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) through automatic route in single-brand retail.
“India, we set a new first-half record,” Cook said in response to a question, adding, “So we continue to put great energy there and try to – our objective over time is to go in there with all of our different initiatives from retail and everything else. And so we’re working towards those things. It’s a huge market and it’s clear that many people will be moving into the middle class over time, as we’ve seen in other countries.” Cook is referring to the October to March period.
Apple is continuously pushing its devices in India by offering discounts and cashback offers via its retail partners. Likewise, while most of the older iPhone models are widely attracting Indian smartphone users, the iPhone X, which comes with at a starting price of Rs. 92,430 (MRP), recently emerged as the “bestselling premium smartphone” in the country – capturing 21 percent of the total premium smartphone shipments in the fourth quarter of 2017, as reported by Counterpoint Research. The company is also utilising its partnership with Taiwan’s Wistron Corp to assemble iPhone models in the country. Wistron’s ICT Service Management Solutions unit presently assembles the affordable iPhone SE model in Bengaluru. However, it was reported in March that the Taiwanese contract manufacturer has also secured a land to build a new assembly facility in Karnataka. This could eventually expand the existing iPhone assembly work in the country.
Cook, while responding to a question about the major efforts Apple is doing in India to expand its market presence, highlighted that the company is putting a lot of energy in the country and working with local carriers. “India is the third largest smartphone market in the world. There’s obviously huge opportunities there for us, and we have extremely low share in that market overall. And so we’re putting a lot of energy there and working with the carriers in that market, and they’re investing enormously on the LTE networks. And the infrastructure has come quite a ways since we began to put a lot of energy in there because of their leadership and so forth,” the executive said.
Apple partnered with telecom operators including Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio to bundle their 4G data with new iPhone models in the past. But recently, the company even extended its partnership with the two telco giants to bring Apple Watch Series 3 cellular version to the country. This will not just open a new market for the Apple Watch Series 3 cellular variant that was launched in September last year but will also make way for the embedded SIM (eSIM) devices in the country.
Apple’s Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said that apart from the growth of various iPhone models, Mac computers are generating year-over-year growth in emerging markets like India – as well as Latin America, Middle East and Africa, and Central and Eastern Europe. The company sold 4.1 million Macs in the second quarter, down from 4.2 million units sold in the year-ago quarter, with nearly 60 percent of the purchases coming from customers who are new to the Mac environment.