Apple is close to gaining clearance to open its first retail store locations in India, according to a source familiar with the matter speaking with Bloomberg. Apple will be re-submitting its retail presence application to the Indian government due to a format problem, but Bloomberg‘s source said that India plans to push the application through without issue.
Due to the fact that Apple is „a provider of cutting-edge technology,“ the Cupertino-based company will be exempt from a rule set by the Indian government that states any foreign businesses selling a single brand must acquire 30 percent of its product’s manufacturing inputs locally. Since Apple manufactures most of its products in China, the stipulation has been an issue for the company in trying to make headway into the Indian retail market.
„Most of the growth in India will come from new users coming into the Apple ecosystem, unlike in the West where growth is mainly from existing users upgrading,“ said Tarun Pathak, a senior analyst at Counterpoint Technology Market Research, based near New Delhi. “You can expect the stores to focus mostly on iPhones.”
Due to the high-end pricing of the iPhone, Apple has remained a small share of the smartphone market within India for the past few years. With 2 percent of the market, Apple is behind companies like Samsung (26 percent), Intex (10 percent), and Lenovo (9 percent) in terms of smartphone sales.
Last summer, Apple announced the Authorized Mobility Resellers program in India, which was reported to be focused on opening 500 retail store locations across 12 cities in India. With such a small share of the country’s 220 million smartphone users, it seems Apple is finally getting closer to increasing its foothold in the country.Прочетете повече
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As it looks to find a better foothold in the Indian smartphone market, Apple today reduced the price of the bestselling iPhone 5s in the country by nearly half of what it sold for in September (via CNET).
Officially, the 2013 iPhone has been reduced from 44,500 Rupees ($665) to 24,999 Rupees ($370) in an effort by Apple to make the two-year-old smartphone more attractive to users in India, where smartphone competition is normally priced below $300.
India is currently the third biggest smartphone market in the world, following China and the United States. Although Apple has a large presence in the latter two countries, it currently doesn’t even crack the top five list of smartphone manufacturers in India.
„To drive volume [in India], Apple will need to keep focus on older iPhone generations,“ IDC’s Kiranjeet Kaur said, explaining that older generations will cater to the country’s large midrange smartphone market. Kaur added that there’s a „limited“ amount of penetration the company can achieve by exclusively selling in the premium price segment.
Besides the premium pricing of the company’s products, multiple factors have prevented Apple from having the kind of success it experiences in some other regions, including its strict real estate investment laws barring Apple from building traditional brick-and-mortar stores in the country. High import taxes applied to products not manufactured in the country’s borders also hinders Apple’s growth, and allows the market leader Samsung to flourish due to its India-based smartphone manufacturing plants.Прочетете повече
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Apple has implemented a carrier billing feature that lets Russian customers purchase iTunes content like apps, movies, music, and books using a phone number, reports CNBC. Purchases made with a phone number linked to an iTunes account are then added to a user’s monthly cellular telephone bill without the need for a credit card, debit card, or iTunes gift card.
For its new mobile payment initiative, Apple has teamed up with Beeline, the third largest wireless operator in Russia. Beeline’s Russian site says the mobile billing feature is now available to Beeline customers in the country, with the payments powered by San Francisco-based company Boku.
Apple’s partnership with Beeline comes a month after it established a similar partnership with German carrier O2. As of late October, O2 customers are also able to link a phone number to their iTunes accounts to purchase iTunes content that’s added to a monthly cellular phone bill.
According to CNBC, Apple has started expanding into carrier billing due to lower carrier rates. While carriers have charged as much as 10 to 30 percent to handle transactions in the past, Apple has secured a deal with better rates „in the single digits.“
Apple’s carrier billing partner Boku has partnered with dozens of carriers around the globe, so it’s likely Apple will continue to expand its carrier billing initiative to more countries in the future. Boku works with all of the major carriers in the United States and has established partnerships in countries like Germany, France, Korea, the UK, and more.Прочетете повече