Apple pins hope on India even as global iPhone sales dip

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Within weeks of the Narendra Modi government rejecting Apple Inc’s demand for Customs duty concessions for its suppliers who could look at manufacturing in the country, Cupertino-based tech major has pinned its hope on India even as global sale of iPhones dipped.

At the analyst call after the second quarter earnings early Wednesday (India time), Chief Executive Tim Cook said, “We’re very optimistic about our future in this remarkable country with its very large, young, and tech-savvy population, fast-growing economy, and improving 4G network infrastructure.” Cook said in his opening address that revenue in India grew by strong double digits during the quarter ended April 1, setting a record.

Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri quantified the “strong double-digit” growth for India — over 20 per cent. The company achieved double-digit growth in the US, Canada, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, Turkey, Russia and Mexico, Maestri said. “Our growth rates were even higher, over 20 per cent in many other markets, including Brazil, Scandinavia, the Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe, India, Korea and Thailand.”

Globally, Apple sold 50.76 million iPhones in its second quarter financial year, down from 51.19 million a year earlier during the corresponding period. In India, around 2.5 million iPhones are estimated to have been sold between October 2015 and September 2016.

While the talk on India revolved around high growth (mainly of iPhones) and 4G network access, top executives remained tight-lipped on the regulatory hurdles Apple faces in the country as well as on the company plans in this geography.

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