Tim Cook, Apple’s general manager, toured Asia in May 2016, visiting China and India respectively. The trip was not the most reassuring, but the owner of the apple brand will have had the opportunity to learn about the challenges that await him in these two countries
An edifying Indian tour for Tim Cook
Tim Cook flew to Asia in mid-May 2016. His tour included a visit to China and India, two important opportunities for Apple, but which also represent a real challenge given the specificities of these markets. On the one hand, sales figures for the iPhone product continue to decline on the Chinese side, despite being the second most important market for the apple brand. On the other hand, sales are struggling to reach a “good” level. This would be due in particular to Apple’s positioning, whose products are classified in the “high-end” category. One thing is certain: improving its position in these two countries is a real challenge for Apple.
Update on the situation
China and India are important markets for all high-tech operators, including Apple. On the Chinese side, there is a clear saturation of the market. In India, the market is emerging and Apple has every interest in making its place there, knowing that its competitors have already come a long way in recent years. In any case, the Indian market is more than interesting with nearly 1.3 billion inhabitants in the country and with less than 20% of the population owning a smartphone.
In any case, India is a “special” market. First, Apple cannot adopt its usual practices, such as selling devices at its usual (quite high) prices, and then leaving it to the operators to resell them for a fixed price. The problem lies in the fact that Indian operators hardly practice this formula. Worse still, the sale of telephones is not a key part of their business. Small independent shops are in charge of the Smartphone sales. In general, entry-level models are found for various reasons: network quality and local economic level.
Negotiations in India
During his Indian tour, Tim Cook was able to discuss with representatives of Vodafone India and Bharti Airtel, the country’s two largest operators. The meetings focused on possible cooperation in the event of the implementation of 4G in India. One thing is certain: the challenge is huge for Apple. The brand offers top-of-the-range products and Indian consumers benefit from only modest resources. Especially since only 50% of Indians know the apple brand, which ranks tenth among the best-known brands in the country. Apple is outdone by Sony, Samsung or BlackBerry. At the same time, the local government has expressed its desire to see the brand invest in the country, for example by setting up manufacturing plants. In any case, local authorities seem to be very open to Apple’s possible “plans”. To be continued.