Cook Com­mits More Money to Grow Ap­ple Here

CEO says he is ‘very bullish and op­ti­mistic’ about the coun­try; height­ened in­ter­est in In­dia as­sumes sig­nif­i­cance as co’s sales in China have started slow­ing

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Kolkata: Ap­ple CEO Tim Cook has re­it­er­ated the iPhone maker’s com­mit­ment to in­vest more money and en­ergy in In­dia, say­ing he is “very, very bullish and very, very op­ti­mistic” about the coun­try.

Talk­ing to an­a­lysts dur­ing the tech gi­ant’s third quar­ter earn­ings call on Tues­day, Cook in­di­cated ex­pan­sion of Ap­ple’s man­u­fac­tur­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion op­er­a­tions in the coun­try.

“We are in­vest­ing in In­dia…we’ve al­ready launched an app ac­cel­er­a­tor cen­tre,” Cook said. “That’s on top of work­ing with the chan­nel and look­ing at ex­pand­ing our go-to-mar­ket in gen­eral. And we be­gan to pro­duce the iPhone SE there dur­ing the quar­ter, and we’re re­ally happy with how that’s go­ing. And so we’re bring­ing all of our en­er­gies to bear there. I see a lot of sim­i­lar­i­ties to where China was sev­eral years ago.”

Ap­ple has started iPhone SE as­sem­bling op­er­a­tions in Ben­galuru with part­ner Wistron, while it has plans to start full-fledged man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tions in the coun­try by bring­ing its key com­po­nent mak­ers un­der one roof, and has sought some tax ex­emp­tions and fis­cal ben­e­fits from the Cen­tre.

Mar­ket track­ers said much of Ap­ple’s growth in In­dia in the last few quar­ters came from wider dis­tri­bu­tion reach.

“It ex­panded from cou­ple of dis­trib­u­tors to more than five now within two years,” said Tarun Pathak, as­so­ci­ate direc­tor at Hong Kong-based mar­ket re­search firm Coun­ter­point Tech­nol­ogy Mar­ket Re­search. “We be­lieve that Ap­ple’s di­rect tie-up with re­gional/area dis­trib­u­tors can have a larger im­pact on its dis­tri­bu­tion reach,” he said.

Pathak said that while the tier 2 and 3 cities are im­por­tant for Ap­ple when it comes to tar­get­ing first-time users in the coun­try, the com­pany’s pro­posed own re­tail stores in big cities will ap­peal to re­peat buy­ers to up­grade by con­trol­ling end-toend ex­pe­ri­ence and ge- We are in­vest­ing in In­dia… we’ve al­ready launched an app ac­cel­er­a­tor cen­tre. That’s on top of work­ing with the chan­nel and look­ing at ex­pand­ing our go-to-mar­ket in gen­eral. We’re bring­ing all of our en­er­gies to bear there

CEO, Ap­ple ner­at­ing more in­ter­est in over­all Ap­ple de­vices and ecosys­tem.

In the April-June quar­ter, iPhone gained mar­ket share in the Indian premium smart­phone mar­ket at 34%, up from 30% a year ear­lier, as per Coun­ter­point data. Ri­val Sam­sung led the mar­ket with 55% share dur­ing the quar­ter with China’s OnePlus at the third spot with 9% share.

Cook’s bullish­ness on In­dia as­sumes sig­nif­i­cance con­sid­er­ing Ap­ple has been re­port­ing slower sales in China.

Cook in­formed an­a­lysts that Main­land China was flat year over year dur­ing the third quar­ter and Hong Kong con­tin­ued to drag down the to­tal Greater China seg­ment.

In con­trast, Ap­ple re­ported that many mar­kets in Asia, Latin Amer­ica, and the Mid­dle East were grow­ing iPhone unit sales by more than 25%.

TIM COOK,

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