Apple bends to woo Indians with EMIs

Around a year ago, when Tim Cook took over reins of Apple he remarked that India was not a focus market for the maker of the iPhones and iPads. But this year, it has made a U-turn, it seems. It's early days yet, but Apple is clearly turning aggressive as sales move up.

Shedding its global practice of bundling its product with telecom operators' service packs, Apple in India is using firms like Redington and Ingram Micro for specialised distribution customised to charm local wallets.

With more than 800 million mobile subscribers and under 50 million touched by smartphones, Apple has a huge opportunity ahead. Smartphones are growing at 98% per annum in India. Apple still does not feature among the top 5 brands by volumes.

The iPhone 5 costs Rs 45,500 but on a down-payment of a little over Rs 16,990, the phone can be bought with an EMI (equated monthly installment) of Rs 4,752 in six months and Rs 2,376 in 12 months.

Its iTunes store offers Bollywood and global songs for as little as Rs 9 to Rs 15 apiece, against 99 cents (Rs 53) or more per song.

Siddhartha Roy, COO of Hungama Digital, which does the back-end for Apple's music, said the company was offering "extremely aggressive" price points for music to woo Indians.

One Apple salesperson, asking not to be identified, said "it's not flying off the shelves" - clearly, Nokia and Samsung have been aggressive.

Katyayan Gupta, an analyst at Forrester Research, said: "These initiatives are helping the company build its brand image."


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