For Apple chief executive Tim Cook, “India is the next China!”
In an earnings call after the announcement of the company’s quarterly results, Cook said he was hopeful of turning around India into the next China for Apple. “Our iPhone sales in India were up over 50% in 2015-16 compared to the prior year, and we believe we’re just beginning to scratch the surface of this large and growing market opportunity.
“Looking ahead, we’re seeing some very exciting developments in India. Reliance Jio is rolling out a first-of-its-kind all-IP network in India with 4G coverage in 18,000 cities and 200,000 villages across the country. They’re offering a free year of service to purchasers of new iPhones and we’re partnering with them to ensure great iPhone performance on their network.”
Apple includes India in its Asia Pacific region, which reported $2.7 billion in sales during the quarter.
IPhone sales in China, which slowed down 30% during the July-September quarter, have failed to make a mark in the company’s balance sheet lately.
Overall, the company’s sales declined 9% to $46.85 billion in the three months to September – the third consecutive quarterly fall. The sales fall hit the company’s quarterly profits, which came in at $9 billion - a 19% decline on the same period a year earlier. For the year to September 2016, the iPhone maker reported its first decline in annual sales and profit in 15 years. Net sales stood at $215.6 billion during the period under review, an 8% decrease on the record $233.7 billion of sales in the previous year. Profits declined 14% year-on-year to $45.7 billion during the period.
Apple is expecting India to plug the declining sales. “I think it’s clear that the population of India will exceed China sometime in probably the next decade or so, maybe less than that. If you sort of look at the number of people who are or will move into the middle class sort of over the next decade, and the age of the population… if you look at India, almost 50% of the population is under 25,” Cook said.
“There are enormous investments going in on 4G and we couldn’t be more excited about that because it really takes a great network working with iPhone to produce that great experience for people… I see a lot of the factors moving in the right direction there.”
He also lauded the government for pushing new infrastructure. “I also think the government is much more focussed on infrastructure and creating jobs, which is fantastic, because you really need the kind of infrastructure and the technology to do that.”