Global Times special correspondent in India: Zhou Liangchen
According to a report in the Indian Express on August 16, Apple CEO Tim Cook, who completes five years at the job, has said “India is one of Apple’s most important markets”.This statement is related to the willingness of Indian side to relax the restrictions for Apple to open its retail stores in India. But India’s Department of Telecommunications revealed that they have not received any applications from Apple in this regard till date.
The idea of Apple opening its sales outlets in India had been around for a long time, and the main reason for that is for reducing the iPhone retail prices in India. The current average price of Apple iPhone sold in India is about $ 500, which is much more than the current average price of $ 150 for a smartphone in the Indian market. According to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of India, in the second quarter of this year, Apple’s mobile phone sales in India have dropped by half over last year, falling from a market share of 4% to 2%.
After Cook’s visit to India in June this year, the Indian government intends to accelerate the distribution of Apple products in India. According to the previous regulations by the Indian Government, foreign retailers should locally source at least 30% of the goods sold in company-owned stores. However, India’s Finance Minister recently announced that a 3 year exemption can be given for “cutting-edge technology products”, which means that Apple has the opportunity to bypass the rule of minimum local procurement, and directly open stores in India.
Although currently having favorable policies, Apple does not seem to pick up the pace of setting up stores in India. According to the news revealed by a concerned person at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry to Global Times, the main concern of Apple is still the coherence of Indian policies. Apple, as “advanced technology product” will still only enjoy a 3 year exception.
Besides, according to an observation by the Global Times reporter, in the past two years, the market share of Chinese mobile phones brands in India continues to grow. Both Xiaomi and Huawei have nearly 4% market share in India. Furthermore, brands like OPPO, VIVO and LeEco have also been adopting their own marketing strategies to gradually open up the Indian market. Taking iPhone SE—which is the major model being promoted by Apple this year—as an example; the phone price in India is more than 3000 RMB; while the new flagship models of Chinese mobile phone brands like Xiaomi and Huawei have a slightly lower price tag. ▲