India gives some good news to Apple as iPhone sales surge by 50%

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As Apple posted its third straight quarter of declining iPhone sales, India had some good news for the iPhone maker.

In India, iPhone sales grew by more than 50% on-year in the fiscal ended September 2016. Apple CEO Tim Cook said India has huge headroom for growth and a large market opportunity.

"Our iPhone sales in India were up over 50% in fiscal 2016 compared to the prior year, and we believe we're just beginning to scratch the surface of this large and growing market opportunity,” Cook said during the earnings call.

Cook also said he was quite upbeat about India’s investments in 4G networks. He said this would raise the proliferation of iPhones in India that can be as big as China for deriving net level of growth.

"Reliance Jio is rolling out a first of its kind all-IP network in India with 4G coverage in 18,000 cities and 200,000 villages across the country. They're offering a free year of service to purchasers of new iPhones and we're partnering with them to ensure great iPhone performance on their network,” said Cook.

Reliance Jio had rolled out special offers for new iPhone users who buy any iPhone device from Reliance Retail or Apple store and use Jio connection. The offers ranged from 20GB data and unlimited SMS for one year, worth Rs 18,000.

"I think it's clear that the population of India will exceed China sometime in probably the next decade or so, maybe less than that. I think it will take longer for the GDP to rival it, but that's not critical for us to have a great success there,” Cook said.

Apple's market share in India in the overall smartphone segment is less than 2% as of September. It is expected to gain a massive share after Samsung, which is number one in India, lost its chance to bank on festive season sale due to Galaxy Note7 debacle.

"The truth is, there's going to be a lot of people there and a lot of people in the middle class that will really want a smartphone, and I think we can compete well for some percentage of those. And given our starting point, even though we've been growing a lot, there is a lot of headroom there in our mind, and so we are working very hard to realize that opportunity,” said Cook.
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