Apple In India, Refurbished iPhone Plan Nixed

Not entirely unexpectedly, Apple's plans to sell refurbished iPhones into the Indian market has been rejected by the Indian Government. Whilst this won'e prevent Apple from selling them if it desires, it will ensure that they get hit with a large import duty for doing so.

That's bad news for Apple's plans for expansion in India, where it has a meagre 2% market share.

The Indian population may be large, but it is mostly poor - certainly too poor to be dropping the sort of money that Apple is asking for an iPhone on a single purchase. For Apple this meant that it had to find a way to get more product onto the Indian market at a lower cost - hence the plan to sell refurbished phones from its more developed markets.

It leaves Apple in a delicate position. India is on the cusp of the sort of growth that has propelled China forward for the last ten years. A richer population means more potential iPhone buyers, but right now it can do nothing to sell to them. Aside from marketing and selling the iPhone as an aspirational product, laying the ground for some pent up desire in around a decade, there's little Apple can do to push the iPhone.

Or rather it could, should it decide to slash profit margins and make the iPhone more attractive to a larger slice of the population. That wouldn't be the sort of thing that Apple would find becoming, so it's unlikely to happen. So in the meantime Apple has to maintain enough of a presence to ensure that when the time is right it can monster the Indian market.

For now though, it looks like a waiting game that Apple and its share price could really do without.


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