Describing India as a “challenging market in the short-term”, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the company plans to make a foray into the Indian market with “all of our might” through its retail stores and manufacturing capability.
Cook, during the fiscal year 2019 second quarter earnings conference call Tuesday, said that while India is a very important market in the long-term it is also a very challenging market in the short-term.
“I think India is a very important market in the long-term. It’s a challenging market in the short-term. But we’re learning a lot,” he said. “We have made some adjustments in India and we’ve seen preliminarily some better results there. Everything that we do, does advise everything we do in the future so we try to learn the best we can and fold that into our thinking. And we’ll obviously do that with this as well,” he said.
Last month, Apple dropped the selling price of iPhone XR by up to 22 per cent in the face of stiff competition in the premium smartphone segment in India. Apple has started manufacturing in India which he said is very important to be able to serve the market in a “reasonable way.” “And we’re growing that capability there,” he said.
He added that Apple would like to place retail stores in India and is working with the government to seek approval to do that. “And so, we plan on going in there with sort of all of our might,” he said. In 2016, Apple India had sought relaxation in the local sourcing norms to set up single brand retail stores in India.
Talking about the Apple Accelerator in Bengaluru, Cook said the company is “very happy” with some of the things coming out of there. “It’s a long-term play. It’s not something that’s going to be on overnight huge business. But I think the growth potential is phenomenal,” he said.
Apple established the Design and Development Accelerator in Bengaluru, the home of India’s startup scene, to support engineering talent and accelerate growth in India’s iOS developer community. With tens of thousands of developers in India making apps for iOS, the operating system for Apple products iPhone and iPad, Apple had said that the initiative would provide additional, specialised support for them.
When asked about the Android operating system dominating the Indian market and Apple’s comparatively less market share in the country, Cook said, “it doesn’t bother me that it’s primarily Android business at the moment because that just means there’s a lot of opportunities there.”
According to an April press release by market research firm Counterpoint Research, the market share of Chinese brands in the Indian smartphone market reached a record 66 per cent during Q1 2019, and volumes for the Chinese brands grew 20 per cent year-on-year mainly due to the growth of Vivo, Realme, and OPPO.
India’s smartphone market is dominated by phones that run on the Android operating system such as Xiaomi and Samsung. Apple announced the financial results for its fiscal 2019 second quarter ended March 30, 2019. The company posted quarterly revenue of USD 58 billion, a decline of five per cent from the year-ago quarter. Profit dropped 16 per cent to USD 11.56 billion for the three months through March 30.