Apple In India: New Market, But Old Challenges
The news that Apple is to start manufacturing iPhones in India was 'announced' by the Karnataka state government and looks to be the next step in Tim Cook's 'success without innovation' plan for Apple.
Globally the expectation is that India will be the next big growth market. Doing to China in the next ten years what China has been doing to Japan over the last ten years. Growing prosperity is creating more Indian consumers with more disposable income. In the same way that they raced to grab a slice of the pie when China was growing, so Western companies will race to profit from Indian growth.
For Apple that's going to be important. After years of growth in China, iPhone sales have started contracting. There's a limited market for premium smartphones in China and even though Apple owns all of it, the opportunity for further growth is passing.
India is right at the start of its smartphone cycle. A limited number of phones sell, mainly from manufacturers with local production facilities. The Made In India program has been successful in that respect at least.
By joining the ranks of local manufacturers Apple has given itself a seat at the table when the Indian market blooms. As in China it will inevitably suck up all or almost all premium smart phone sales and Tim Cook will be able to show growth in sales of Apple's most important product line.
Outside of America and Japan iPhone sales growth is negative and opening new markets is becoming more and more important to keeping sales and stock price moving in the right direction.