Keen on opening retail stores, growing manufacturing capability, says CEO of iPhone maker
Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook said his company has plans to tap into the Indian market ‘with all its might’. Responding to a query on Apple’s plans for India (predominantly an Android market) during its second quarter 2019 earnings call, Mr. Cook said: “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.”
“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 and would like to place retail stores there,” Mr. Cook said. “We were 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 added.
The top executive of the Cupertino-based tech major further said, “We’ve opened a developer accelerator there (India). 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 an overnight huge business. But I think the growth potential is phenomenal and it doesn’t bother me that it’s primarily an Android business at the moment, because that just means there’s a lot of opportunities there.”
As per a Statcounter GlobalStats report on Operating Systems Market in India released in April, Android accounts for 63.99%, and Windows 24.95%, while other operating systems used in the country include KaiOS, iOS, OSX, etc.
‘Pricing change helped’
The Apple CEO also said the pricing change on some of its iPhone models in India had improved results for Apple in the country.
Last November, responding to a question on whether Apple was at a disadvantage in India compared to other markets in terms of ability to run its own stores and manufacture products, Mr. Cook had said he was bullish on the Indian market and was very optimistic about Apple’s future growth in the market. He had also expressed hope, during the fourth quarter 2018 earnings call, that the Indian government would at some point agree to allow the company to open its stores.
It was in May 2017 that Apple had decided to take the much-hyped ‘Make in India’ route with its iPhones. As a precursor to its manufacturing foray, it set up an assembly unit at Peenya, on the outskirts of Bengaluru, to assemble iPhone SE (Apple’s most popular and low-cost phone), in collaboration with Wistron Infocomm Manufacturing India, a subsidiary of Taipei-based Wistron Corporation. The unit also assembles iPhone 6S now.
Recently, Taiwan’s Foxconn had reportedly said that with the China market saturating for iPhones, the contract manufacturer for Apple would begin mass manufacturing high-end iPhone models in India in 2019.