Apple in India

Om Malik:

Apple is enamored with China — and rightfully so. However, in not paying attention to India, it has allowed world’s second-largest mobile market to become a mostly Android phenomenon, leaving upper end of the market to Samsung. Wrong strategy, if you ask me.

  • janakj

    I was in India over the holidays, and I saw more Galaxy Notes amongst Indians than iPhones. I’m not kidding. The vast majority of the time I saw an iPhone, it was being wielded by a tourist.

    I don’t completely agree with Om — I think price has a lot to do with it — but branding is a huge part of it too. In any “market” in India (loosely equivalent to a strip mall here, just with no parking) there are usually one or two mobile/electronics shops, and every single one has Samsung branding on the outside. You see more Samsung logos than pretty much any other logo in India. Samsung is sparing no expense in capturing the minds of Indians. Apple, on the other hand, is reduced to posters or placards in the windows when Samsung is actually largely emblazoned on the store’s banner.

    Finally, many Indians use a cell phone as their only computer — that’s the one case where a phablet or large-screen phone may actually be useful. They use it for business both to make phone calls and to show content to potential clients on the go, etc.

    • I have been to the Adirondacks over the holidays, and I saw more dashikis then Galaxys (and Mr. Duchovny shagging a chain smoker). I’m not kidding. (No offence, but some scepticism of anecdotal evidence is always required.)

      I have lived and worked in India for the last two years, and have done business with Indian (and Indian subsidiaries of Western) companies for over 20 years (starting with working for Pan Am, which had crew bases in, then, Bombay and Delhi, 28 years ago)… and have yet to meet a single Indian who uses a cell phone as the only “computer”. (Many who don’t own a computer and having a smartphone to make calls and send text messages, but that is not “using it as a computer”.)

      I sign up for the price argument. A 32 GB iPhone 5 is around $950 in India, a Galaxy S3 is around $500 (or even less after buying a Samsung TV, fridge, oven, washing machine… etc., Samsung offers huge discounts for everything,) My (exceptionally good) cardiologist in Mumbai was earning $1,800 a month (she even showed me her tax papers to prove that) after studying almost a decade abroad. If I had two children, an unemployed husband and a loan for my practise equipment and some sense (which I do not have)… even I would consider living without an iPhone.

  • JohnDoey

    They used to say the same about Verizon, which is over 50% iPhone now.

    They also said Apple was ignoring the net book in 2009, complained Apple was ignoring the cell phone in 2006, and complained Apple was ignoring the PDA in 2000, and complained Apple was ignoring digital music in 1999. The solutions to all that turned out to be iTunes, iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Maybe Om has heard of them?

    I also hate the idea that people are different in each country. They are not. Everybody benefits from a better device. The less money you have, the more you need a device like iPhone that pays for itself. As India continues to come into its own and Apple continues to open stores and 3rd party retailers there, they will sell a lot of devices. However I also agree that we need an iPhone mini for the first-time buyer who mainly needs calls and texts and other basics. The idea that Apple won’t make a low-cost phone is crazy. The idea that they would rush it is crazy.

    Really tired of people saying stupid things about Apple when their competitors are the Keystone Kops and Laurel and Hardy and the Three Stooges.