Apple had a 66% share of sales in India last month, which is extremely interesting for multiple reasons, considering circumstances of the past, present and future.
India is obviously not the ideal market for premium smartphones, as a vast majority of the population cannot afford them. In fact, as recently as May, a Strategy Analytics report revealed that there really wasn’t that much of a market in India for even the lowest range of iPhone models. At the time, Apple CEO Tim Cook replied:
“We are in India for the next thousand years. Our horizon is very long. We are focused on best, not most. So it doesn’t bother me that we don’t have top market share.”
Now it seems like he was smart not to be discouraged.
Samsung has long sold a great many low end smartphones in India, but the prices are so low they barely cover costs, and it’s questionable how long the company can continue to offer them. Samsung’s real profits come from its own premium models, and it was an enormous blow to have their new flagship models literally go up in flames.
The result is that Apple actually managed to sell over a quarter million units in India for October.
In order to operate a retail store in India, multinational companies are required to obtain at least 30% of their components from within the country. Apple has been fighting this requirement tooth and nail, but the best they were able to negotiate is a 3 year grace period.
Foxconn, which is Apple’s main assembly partner, is rumored to be planning an Indian facility. But though that could fulfill the requirement, it would probably take about a year to be operative after everything is officially in place.
So, the clock is ticking, but Cook seems determined to be successful in India. It remains to be seen whether Apple can do so without their major competitor shooting itself in the foot.