“More than four years after it started selling iPhones in India, Apple Inc is now aggressively pushing the iconic device through instalment payment plans that make it more affordable, a new distribution model and heavy marketing blitz,” Devidutta Tripathy and Harichandan Arakali report for Reuters.

“‘Now your dream phone’ at 5,056 rupees ($93), read a recent full front-page ad for an iPhone 5 in the Times of India, referring to the initial payment on a phone priced at $840, or almost two months’ wages for an entry-level software engineer,” Tripathy and Arakali report. “The new-found interest in India suggests a subtle strategy shift for Apple, which has moved tentatively in emerging markets and has allowed rivals such as Samsung and Blackberry to dominate with more affordable smartphones. With the exception of China, all of its Apple stores are in advanced economies.”

Tripathy and Arakali report, “The result: iPhone shipments to India between October and December nearly tripled to 250,000 units from 90,000 in the previous quarter, according to an estimate by Jessica Kwee, a Singapore-based analyst at consultancy Canalys… 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.”

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