Apple signals emerging-market rethink with India push
"Most people in India can't afford a dollar-priced phone when the salaries in India are rupee salaries. But the desire is the same," said Himanshu Chakrawarti, its chief executive.
Apple, the distributors, retailers and banks share the advertising and interest cost of the marketing push, according to Chakrawarti. Carriers like Bharti Airtel Ltd, which also sell the iPhone 5, run separate ads.
India is the world's No. 2 cellphone market by users, but most Indians can't afford fancy handsets. Smartphones account for just a tenth of total phone sales. In India, 95 percent of cellphone users have prepaid accounts without a fixed contract. Unlike in the United States, carriers do not subsidise handsets.
Within the smartphone segment, Apple's Indian market share last quarter was just 5 percent, according to Canalys, meaning its overall penetration is tiny.
Still, industry research firm IDC expects the Indian smartphone market to grow more than five times from about 19 million units last year to 108 million in 2016, which presents a big opportunity.
Samsung Electronics dominates Indian smartphone sales with a 40 percent share, thanks to its wide portfolio of Android devices priced as low as $110. The market has also been flooded by cheaper Android phones from local brands such as Micromax and Lava.
Most smartphones sold in India are much cheaper than the iPhone, said Gartner analyst Anshul Gupta.
"Where the masses are - there, Apple still has a gap."
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