File photo of Apple CEO Tim Cook as he gestures during a media event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., March 21, 2016. (Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
Apple is bullish on India and plans to launch all its initiatives, including retail, in the country where it has an “extremely low” overall market share, the tech giant’s CEO Tim Cook has said, writes Yoshita Singh.
India, the third largest smartphone market in the world, has huge opportunities for Apple, Cook said.
“We have extremely low share in that market overall,” Cook said during Apple’s second quarter 2018 earnings call, May 1, when the tech giant posted quarterly revenue of $61.1 billion, an increase of 16 percent from the year-ago quarter.
“We’re thrilled to report our best March quarter ever, with strong revenue growth in iPhone, Services and Wearables,” said Cook.
International sales accounted for 65 percent of the quarter’s revenue for the Cupertino, California-based company.
Cook said Apple was “putting a lot of energy” in India and working with the carriers in the market, and “they’re investing enormously on the LTE (Long-Term Evolution) networks.”
He noted that the infrastructure in India has come “quite a ways” since Apple began to put a lot of energy in the Indian market “because of their leadership and so forth.”
Apple’s Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri said that Apple’s Mac set a new March quarter revenue record, including new records in both the Americas and Greater China.
“We sold 4.1 million Macs, generating year-over-year growth in many emerging markets including Latin America, the Middle East and Africa, Central and Eastern Europe and India,” Maestri said.
Apple’s Board has also approved a new $100 billion share repurchase authorization and a 16 percent increase in our quarterly dividend, he said.
Cook said in India, Apple set a new first-half record. “So we continue to put great energy there and try to our objective over time is to go in there with all of our different initiatives from retail and everything else. And so we’re working toward those things,” he said.
Describing India as a “huge market,” Cook said many people will be moving into the middle class over time in the country, referring to the tremendous consumer opportunity that presents to global companies.
On China, Cook said he believes it is a phenomenal country with lots of opportunity both from a market and an app developer point of view.
Apple has almost two million application developers in China that are writing apps for iOS and the App Store, and “they’re doing unbelievably creative work and innovative work. So we look at China holistically, not only as a market.”
Cook was asked if he feels the iPhone market is saturated and not much room is left for growth even as potential exists in emerging markets like India.
“I don’t buy the view that market’s saturated. I don’t see that from a market point of view or and certainly not from an iPhone point of view,” he replied.
Cook stressed that the smartphone market is like the best market for a consumer product company in the history of the world. “It’s a terrific market, and we’re very happy to be a part of it,” he said.
He highlighted that in terms of the market in general, last year there were still half a billion feature phones sold in the world, with many of these being sold into emerging markets.
“And we still believe that over time every phone sold will be a smartphone. And so it seems to us that with that many feature phones being sold, that’s a pretty big opportunity,” Cook said.
Cook acknowledged that in terms of the iPhone itself, Apple’s market share globally is low and its sales are low compared to the full market of smartphones even though Apple sells quite a few phones across the course of a year.
The company’s net income for the second quarter was $13.8 billion, up from $11 billion a year ago.
Cook said it was Apple’s best March quarter ever, with strong revenue growth in iPhone, Services and Wearables.
“Customers chose iPhone X more than any other iPhone each week in the March quarter, just as they did following its launch in the December quarter. We also grew revenue in all of our geographic segments, with over 20 percent growth in Greater China and Japan,” he said.
Apple sold 52.2 million iPhones in the second quarter of 2018, which was down 32 percent from the first quarter of this year when it had sold 77.3 million iPhones but up only three percent from the second quarter of 2017 when it had sold 50.7 million units.