Apple Inc, the world’s largest smartphone maker, is having trouble selling iPhones in India, a market with 602 million active subscribers.
Apple, which is to introduce a new version of its iPhone today, ships fewer handsets to the world’s second-largest mobile-phone market than it does to Norway. Nokia Oyj and Research In Motion Ltd (RIM) sell more devices in India, where smartphone shipments are forecast to grow almost 70 percent a year until 2015, helping mitigate their market-share losses in the US and Europe.
Sales for the world’s biggest company by market value are hindered because Indian wireless carriers, which started third-generation networks this year, have yet to offer nationwide services fast enough to take advantage of iPhone features, said Gus Papageorgiou, an analyst at Scotia Capital Inc in Toronto.
“Networks in India are just not conducive for Apple — 3G networks aren’t quite where they are in Western Europe and North America,” he said. “RIM got the right product, the right timing, the right app.”
Apple shipped 62,043 iPhones to India in the quarter ending June 30, or fewer than to Norway, Belgium or Israel, according to estimates by US-based researcher IDC.
Apple accounted for 2.6 percent of India’s smartphone shipments in the quarter ended June 30, trailing RIM’s 15 percent, Samsung’s 21 percent and Nokia’s 46 percent, IDC estimates show.
“The iPhone only really works when you have Wi-Fi,” said Kshma Shah, a 25-year-old interior designer in Mumbai. “3G has barely started in India and on 2G you just can’t have the same experience.”
The world’s largest maker of tablet computers also shipped about 21,150 iPads to India in the same period, or 0.2 percent of its global total, according to IDC.
RIM’s BlackBerry Messenger instant-messaging service is popular because it was one of the first and it functions well on networks a generation behind the speeds offered in the US and Europe, Papageorgiou said.
“Only a few of my friends have iPhones,” said Mahafareenn Sarkari, a 25-year-old dance instructor in Mumbai. “BlackBerry is where everybody is, so it made sense for me to be on it, too.”
RIM, which entered India in 2004, plans to extend its lead over Apple after expanding distribution to 80 cities from 15 starting last year, said Krishnadeep Baruah, director of marketing for Waterloo, Canada-based RIM in India. Meanwhile, Nokia has more than 200,000 outlets in India and offers 13 smartphone models, Vilsha Kapoor of New Delhi-based Six Degrees PR, hired by Nokia to handle public relations, said in an e-mail.
Apple products are not as accessible in India because users cannot buy iPhones, iPads and iTunes songs from company stores or its Web site. Apple sells through licensed resellers, including a Reliance Industries Ltd subsidiary and Tata Group’s Croma.
“Apple continues to invest in India as a growing market for the company,” Alan Hely, a London-based spokesman for Apple, said in an e-mailed response.
Apple may be relying more on word-of-mouth among India’s wealthy, said Harish Bijoor, who runs his own brand consulting firm in Bangalore.
“They don’t see a big enough market for their products to make it worthwhile,” Bijoor said. “They’ve barely done any advertising. It’s pathetic, really.”
Cost is also an issue in a country where the World Bank estimates that about 900 million people live on less than US$2 a day.
The cheapest iPhone 4 costs US$705 at Reliance’s iStore, while the cheapest iPad 2 sells for about US$603. In Apple’s US online store, the iPhone 4 starts at US$199 with an AT&T Inc contract and the iPad starts at US$499.
BlackBerrys under US$200 made up 40 percent of their shipments in India in the quarter ended June 30, said T.Z. Wong, an analyst for IDC.
“I don’t think Apple is a brand for the masses,” said Ajit Joshi, managing director of Croma, which also sells other brands besides Apple. “It’s a brand for the classes.”
‘BIG LOSS’: This year might see the last generation of Huawei’s Kirin chips, as their production would stop next month because they are made using US technology Chinese tech giant Huawei Technologies Co (華為) is running out of processor chips to make smartphones due to US sanctions and would be forced to stop production of its own most advanced chips, a company executive has said, in a sign of growing damage to Huawei’s business from US pressure. Huawei, one of the biggest producers of smartphones and network equipment, is at the center of US-Chinese tension over technology and security. Washington last year cut off Huawei’s access to US components and technology, and those penalties were tightened in May, when the White House barred vendors worldwide from using US
’WHITE BOX’: The open platform would give local firms access to Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop 5G telecom equipment and tap into the global market The Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) yesterday introduced a new 5G “open lab” in collaboration with US-based information technology and networking giant Cisco Systems Inc to address the rapidly growing “white box” 5G networking equipment market. The open lab will be a platform where Taiwanese manufacturers can access Cisco’s cloud-based mobile network to develop their own 5G telecom equipment, such as small-cell base stations, network switches, modems and Internet of things (IoT) devices, a ministry statement said. The open platform would allow Taiwanese manufacturers to tap into the lucrative 5G telecom equipment market, which was previously monopolized by Nokia Oyj, Ericsson AB
Nintendo Co is raising its target for Switch production to about 25 million units this fiscal year, people familiar with the matter said, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic keeps lifting demand and component shortages ease. The Kyoto, Japan-based company, which in April hiked orders to 22 million units by March next year, is asking partners to tack on another few million units, said the people, who did not want to be identified discussing internal goals. Assembly partners plan to work at maximum capacity through December. The new production target suggests that Nintendo is likely to outperform its Switch sales forecast of 19 million
Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday reported that revenue last month expanded 25 percent annually, but fell 12.8 percent month-on-month to NT$105.96 billion (US$3.59 billion). In the first seven months of this year, the chipmaker’s revenue surged 33.6 percent to NT$727.26 billion, compared with NT$544.46 billion a year earlier. TSMC has said it aims to grow its revenue by more than 20 percent this year. The company has since May 15 stopped taking new orders from Huawei Technologies Co (華為), its second-biggest customer after Apple Inc, due to the US’ restrictions on exports containing US technologies. TSMC has no plans to