Right after visiting China on Monday, Apple’s boss Tim Cook flew to India the following day. He spent a few days touring the populous country, meeting with decision makers, negotiating with carriers and taking to end users and developers alike.
Speaking with The Hindu, Cook has now laid out his vision and strategy for India, a very important market for Apple where the company, despite a massive population of 1.25 billion people, has a single-digit share of the smartphone market.
Here’s a summary of the most important topics Cook touched upon in the interview.
Investing in India
Apple announced that it will be opening a new facility dedicated to Maps development in Hyderabad early next year. Located on the Maverick campus, it’ll provide “a world-class, LEED-certified home for the expanding Maps team,” Apple said.
But the facilities in Bengaluru and Hyderabad are only the beginning of what’s to come.
We have thought through many areas (of investment) and we will move ahead in all these areas. What we have announced in Hyderabad and Bengaluru are just a couple of initial things, there’s more coming. We are committed to India.
So, is Apple going to manufacture iPhones in India?
We are looking at India as a partner across (segments), not just for any one area. Manufacturing is something we will logically look at.
Selling pre-owned iPhones in India
Cook said he would urge a local regulator to reconsider its decision:
If you think about automobiles, brands like Lexus and Mercedes have been selling certified pre-owned cars. We have this program in the U.S. and in most parts of the world.
When they are sold, they are sold with warranty, just like a new product. We would never sell a product that we didn’t think was right.
Small iPhone market share
If you though hones were inexpensive in China, you haven’t looked at Indian prices.
As many as eighty percent of phones sold in India cost less than $150. By comparison, the iPhone SE starts at 39,000 rupees in India, or approximately $587, versus its $399 asking price over in the United States.
Does Cook lose any sleep over the fact that the iPhone is clinging onto a minuscule two to three percent share of the Indian market?
We are in India for the next thousand years. Our horizon is very long. We are focussed on best, not most. So it doesn’t bother me that we don’t have top market share.
I see a great technical collaboration between Apple and main carriers in India and to make sure the iPhone works incredible on those networks. The feedback I have thus far is very positive on that. We push really hard, in some ways they think we are crazy, but they love it as well that someone is pushing them hard to work together to solve the most difficult problem.
India is on track to become the world’s second-largest market for smartphones, overtaking the United States and coming in just behind China.
Does Cook think India could be as big as China for Apple some day?
I see a lot of positive things happen in the country and more will happen. From GDP point of view there is no doubt in my mind that India will set new records. I can feel it will happen.
Another factoid: half of India’s population is about 25 years old.
The full transcript of the Cook interview is available at the source link below.