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India manufacturing, retail top priority: Tim Cook

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Cupertino (California), May 1, 2019-

Reiterating that India is an important market for Apple, CEO Tim Cook said the current iPhone manufacturing will see maximum growth in days to come amid the renewed push to open its branded retail stores in the country.

In an earnings call with analysts after declaring its Q2 results late Tuesday, Cook said the company has made some “adjustments in India and have seen preliminary some better results there”.

“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.

“We have started manufacturing there which is very important to be able to serve the market in a reasonable way. And we’re growing that capability there,” said the Apple CEO.

Giving an impetus to its India manufacturing plans, Apple has started the assembling of iPhone 7 at its supplier Wistron’s facility in Bengaluru. Taiwanese industrial major Wistron already assembles iPhone 6S in the country.

Cook also emphasized on the company’s plans to open its branded stores in India.

“We would like to place retail stores there. And we’re 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,” said Cook.

Apple is slowly but steadily strategising its plans to make deeper inroads in a country where over 450 million people use smartphones, mostly Android and from China.

“We’ve opened a developer, accelerator there, which we’re 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,” Cook told the analysts as Apple posted a revenue of $58 billion for its second quarter of 2019.

In India, price is a key factor when it comes to buying a smartphone.

According to Tarun Pathak, Associate Director, Counterpoint Research, this is like a fresh start for Apple in India once it localizes assembly operations.

“It needs to target the growing price segment of $400 above. Timing-wise, things are fine but Apple still need to work around its pricing strategy,” Pathak told.

Last one year has been tough for Apple in India, with its market share tumbling to less than 1 per cent in the first quarter of 2019.

Realising this, Apple has begun reducing the price of newly-launched iPhones in India.

The company offered a “promotional offer” earlier this month to bring down the cost of its Rs 76,900 iPhone XR (64GB) by as much as Rs 23,000.

Cook said that it doesn’t bother him that it’s primarily Android business at the moment in India “because that just means there’s a lot of opportunity there”.  (Agency)

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