Tim Cook on Tuesday said that the Apple iPhone sales in India grew by more than 50 percent. Cook also highlighted Apple’s partnership with Reliance Jio. “They are offering a free year of service to buyers of new iPhones,” he said. However, analysts are of the view that cracking the world’s largest democracy won’t be easy. Apple has been looking to new countries such as China to drive growth but revenues in the world’s second-largest economy fell 30 percent YoY in the fiscal fourth quarter, according to the company’s results. Cook remained bullish on China but tough competition from Huawei have held back the company’s progress. This is the reason Cook turned to India, noting that half of Indians are aged under 25 with the population expected to boom further.
“Our iPhone sales in India were up over 50 percent in fiscal 2016 compared to the prior year, and we believe we’re just beginning to scratch the surface of this large and growing market opportunity,” Cook said on an investor call after earnings were released. “The truth is there’s going to be a lot of people there and a lot of people in the middle class that will really want a smartphone, and I think we can compete well for some percentage of those. And given our starting point, even though we’ve been growing a lot, there’s a lot of headroom there in our mind. So, we’re working very hard to realize that opportunity,” he added in response to an analyst question.
But, India will be a tough market to crack Apple, despite almost 125 million smartphones set to be sold in total this year, where iPhones are still a small player. According to CNBC, The company shipped around 2.5 million units between October 2015 and September 2016, according to Counterpoint research, giving Apple a 2.2 percent market share. While this is up from the 1.6 percent share in the previous year, Apple could struggle to penetrate a country that is used to buying cheaper devices.