Has Apple finally found the right formula to crack this emerging market?

“Apple is moving at a fast pace to realize its dream of making a dent in the Indian smartphone industry,” Harsh Chauhan writes for The Motley Fool. “The company was reportedly in discussions in late January with the government to set up manufacturing operations in the country. Apple executives reportedly had met Indian government officials to discuss potential concessions such as a 15-year customs duty exemption and a relaxation in the 30% local sourcing norm for components.”

Reuters recently reported that Apple will start assembling the 4-inch iPhone SE in India in April this year with Taiwan’s Wistron Corp as its assembling partner,” Chauhan writes. “Additionally, The Economic Times reports that Apple’s initial production of a made in India iPhone SE will be somewhere between 300,000 and 400,000 units… It is likely that the company would ramp up its output once it receives clarity from the Indian government regarding concessions.”

“Apple begins to manufacture the iPhone SE in India, it should be able to offer the device at an even lower price point to the Indian consumer as import duties would be removed and this savings could be passed onto the customer,” Chauhan writes. “It’s smart for Apple to begin making the lowest-priced phone in its portfolio in India as going low in this market will allow it to reach more customers. The company can gradually work its way up the value chain as the total disposable income of Indians rises.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: India is Apple’s biggest opportunity for growth. Its importance cannot be overstated.

In addition, India should allow Apple to sell Apple Certified Refurbished iPhones, iPads, and other Apple products:

The “Make in India” program is supposed to focus on creating skilled jobs and minimizing environmental impact. Blocking Apple from selling Apple Certified Refurbished iPhones and forcing the company to set up factories full of entry-level assembly jobs in order to open brand new retail stores accomplishes neither objective.

Indians can’t have nice, clean stores or real iPhones are great prices (Apple Certified Refurbished iPhones are better than new fragmandroid phones) because your government is “protecting” you against such things in favor of importing pollution and crap, menial, unskilled, low-paying jobs. So, don your face masks like the Chinese to ward off the smog (not that iPhone assembly is particularly polluting, but the requirement forcing 30% of manufacturing into the country will lead to pollution from other industries) and have fun with your insecure, never-to-be-updated fake iPhones!

Or, some portion of the 1.3 billion Indian citizens could demand that the handful of government dullards blocking Apple reconsider their trade ideas. — MacDailyNews, May 26, 2016

India should approve Apple’s plan to sell Apple Certified refurbished iPhones in India. Not only would they be affordable to more consumers in India, Apple’s refurb’ed iPhones are easily better than competitors’ new phones! Why keep the Indian people shackled to inferior iPhone knockoffs when they could have the real thing?MacDailyNews, May 25, 2016

Apple again asks Indian government to allow sale of certified refurbished iPhones in India – February 6, 2017
Indian IT minister says Apple plans to make iPhones in Bengaluru – February 3, 2017
Apple nears deal to manufacture products in India – January 25, 2017
Apple is ready to make iPhones in India, for a price – January 20, 2017
India to consider Apple request for tax breaks and policy exemptions with ‘open mind’ – January 18, 2017
Apple is horse-trading mightily with India – January 4, 2017
India poised to reject manufacturing concessions for Apple – January 3, 2017
Apple doesn’t want India’s government to muddle iPhone’s look – December 29, 2016
Apple is discussing manufacturing in India, government officials say – December 20, 2016
Apple iPhone grabs first place in India with 66% of premium smartphone sales – November 29, 2016
Apple seeks government incentives to set up manufacturing unit in India – November 7, 2016
iPhone 7 and 7 Plus launch in India: Apple’s latest flagship gets record-breaking response – October 8, 2016
Reports of Apple’s death in India are greatly exaggerated – August 5, 2016
India clears path for first Apple Retail Store – July 21, 2016
Indian government expected allow Apple Retail Stores without any sourcing requirement for 2-3 years – June 6, 2016
Indian government discussing waiver to permit Apple Retail Stores – May 30, 2016
Blow for Apple and Indian consumers as Indian government pushes protectionism – May 25, 2016
Blow for Apple and Indian consumers as Indian government pushes protectionism – May 25, 2016
Apple hits setback in push to open retail stores in India – May 24, 2016
Apple’s U-turn in India: From arrogance to servility – May 23, 2016
Apple finds potential new factory hub – in India – May 23, 2016
Apple’s Tim Cook samples Bollywood, cricket, in bid to woo India – May 21, 2016
India shows Apple CEO Cook the love it’s yet to give the pricey iPhone – May 20, 2016
Apple CEO Cook: ‘We are in India for the next thousand years’ – May 20, 2016
Watch Apple CEO Tim Cook at his first cricket game in India – May 19, 2016
Apple opens Maps development office in Hyderabad, India – May 19, 2016
Apple CEO Cook debuts in India – May 18, 2016
Apple to open first-of-its-kind iOS App Design and Development Accelerator in India – May 18, 2016
Tim Cook visits India: Apple to expand its Indian software development center, build local start-up accelerator program – May 17, 2016
Apple Retail Stores to open in India by end of next year – May 16, 2016
iPhone sales surge 56% in India as Apple eats into Samsung’s high-end share – May 8, 2016
Apple deprivileged as India bows to Washington D.C. consensus on mobile phone import tariffs – May 7, 2016
India rejects Apple’s plan to import and sell refurbished iPhones – May 3, 2016


  1. Aren’t iPhones too expensive for the Indian consumer market? Alphabet is pushing for $50 smartphones. How can Apple compete at that level? Sure, the Indian government lets Apple build iPhones in the country just to be able to sell them there, but will Indian consumers be able buy them? I think Apple is wise in trying to sell iPhones in India. They’ll never know if they don’t at least try. I’m just pessimistic when those SEs cost $400 and Android manufacturers are selling $50 to $100 smartphones. How can the Indian consumer go with the more expensive iPhone if they don’t have the money. I could see if Apple is willing to finance their iPhones but without that Apple will likely end up with a very tiny market share that’s not even worth the effort.

    Alphabet is smart to try to cripple Apple’s iPhone business in India. Apple should return the favor to Alphabet in some way but Tim Cook will probably play the “nice” guy and do nothing against Alphabet.

    1. While it is true that the average income in India is very low indeed, the enormous population (soon to pass China) means that the absolute number of people in the middle to upper classes is quite substantial. Apple will never compete with cheap phones in India, but it does not compete in that market anywhere. Without the high tariffs, domestically-produced iPhones could find a huge audience even with “a very tiny market share.”

      1. Yes people forget being the market share leader with few profits is hardly the goal. Better to maintain a higher quality image and rake in the profit share bucks from the market segment worth having – people with actual money and the will to spend it. There’s little financial incentive being the phone for the low to poverty class, but it’s good someone does it as a public service even if it isn’t Apple. Apple’s profits speak volumes for what is the correct approach.

        1. I can agree with that. In India’s case though wouldn’t Apple’s iPhone SE be competing with India’s ‘high-end’ Android phones priced similarly to the SE regardless of how low Apple decides to price it? If the low end there is $50-100, high-end could be as low as $300.

        1. Justin’s comment could be taken as callous to the poor. Maybe it was intended as such. But I would prefer that people seek a different wording and interpretation. I have not always had a lot of money and, even when I did, I still attempted to spend my money wisely, seeking the best value and saving up for something that cost more if I really wanted it. Even now that I am more comfortable financially, I just switched from a hand-me-down iPhone 4 to a hand-me-down iPhone 5S (still three generations behind the state-of-the-art).

          You do not have to have the latest and greatest. You can be very happy with used/refurbished hardware and older models. And many people can work and save to acquire a few luxuries, even if they will never be considered one of the “rich and famous.”

    2. I don’t think you understand the size of the Indian middle class and it is growing at a massive rate. This is about the future as much as the present, it certainly isn’t about grabbing large market share with virtually no profit as is Alphabets strategy. We really must stop this arrogant Westetn view of the sub continent it’s getting embarrassing. Like China this market is increasingly looking for asperational products and even if they represent a small part of their overall population they are very large in numbers compared to western countries. Addressing costs however allows better exploitation of that growing and changing market increases profits and lowers the point at which you can grab the buyer and pull them into your Eco system as they move up the ladder. Rather like students are important customers for what they may become more than simply what they are now.

      1. Yes – the general view in the West is many decades out of date. India, China and many other countries have moved dramatically in terms of wealth and many related social factors.

        1. FTR, Both China and India have large emergent middle-classes – in the 10’s or 100’s of millions, but both also still have great numbers of people incredibly poor by first world standards.

          It’s a bifrucation that may continue, but history would suggest it cannot stand forever…..

  2. It’s really all just about India being able to steal Apple’s mfg. technology. India will come up with a similar brand and quality, then dump Apple and claim Americans are too stupid to do the work.

    The Indian Mafia probably death-threated Cook into agreeing.

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