Apple Finalizes List of Locations for First Retail Store in India

Apple has finalized a list of locations for its first retail store in India, according to sources who spoke to Bloomberg.


The vetted locations are said to include several upscale sites in Mumbai that are comparable to iconic Apple stores on Fifth Avenue in New York, Regent Street in London, or the Champs-Elysees in Paris. A final decision on the plans is expected to come "in the next few weeks," said Bloomberg's sources.

In the Indian market, Apple ranks 11th and accounts for just one percent of India's phone sales, selling fewer than one million iPhones during the first half of 2018. Comparatively, rival smartphone maker Xiaomi sold "more than 19 million" during that period, according to data gathered by Counterpoint Research.

In an effort to revamp the company's presence in India, Apple CEO Tim Cook is believed to be working behind-the-scenes to "remold Apple's failing India strategy," according to both current and former Apple employees who spoke to Bloomberg.

This strategy includes better and longer-lasting retail deals with higher sales targets, the opening of official Apple retail stores in India, "overhauling" the company's relationship with independent retailers, and improving apps and services "aimed more closely at Indians." For retail, the official Apple stores are said to open in 2019 and will eventually include locations in New Delhi, Bengaluru, and Mumbai.

While the Indian government's rules for foreign companies opening shops have previously prevented Apple from launching local stores, the company now builds some of its iPhone SE and iPhone 6s models in India, which is believed to help it meet India's rule requiring these companies to manufacture 30 percent of their products locally.

Tag: India

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TikTok Unbanned in India

Tik Tok, which was pulled from the App Store in India last week to comply with a government demand to block downloads over child safety concerns, is allowed to return to the App Store, reports Reuters.

The southern state of Tamil Nadu had asked the Indian government to ban the TikTok app on the grounds that it encouraged pornography and could expose children to sexual predators, leading the government to send a letter to Apple and Google asking the companies to remove the app from their respective App Stores.


Today, after hearing a plea from the app's creator, Bytedance, the state court reversed its decision pushing for the app's ban. An Indian government official told Reuters that once the court's order had been received, it would ask Apple and Google to reinstate the app.

Created by China-based Bytedance Technology, TikTok is designed to let users create and share short-form videos enhanced with digital effects, which has been particularly successful in India. Before being pulled from the App Store, TikTok had been downloaded more than 240 million times in the country.

Bytedance told Indian officials that it was losing up to $500,000 dollars a day during the ban, and that more than 250 jobs were at risk.

Tag: India

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Apple Removes Video Sharing App TikTok From Indian App Store to Comply With State Demand

Apple has removed TikTok from its App Store in India to comply with a government demand to block downloads of the video sharing app over child safety concerns.


TikTok, developed by China-based Bytedance Technology, lets users create and share short-form videos enhanced with digital effects, a formula that has proved a huge hit in India. The app has been downloaded more than 240 million times in the country, according to a report from app analytics firm Sensor Tower in February.

However, on April 3 a court in southern Tamil Nadu state asked the federal Indian government to ban the app on grounds that it encouraged pornography, and warned that sexual predators could target child users. Citing an IT ministry official, Reuters reports that the federal government sent a letter to Apple and Google requesting that the companies abide by the state court's order by pulling TikTok from their respective app stores.

As of this morning, the title is no longer available for download on either platform in the country. In a statement, Google didn't mention the app by name but said it complied with all local state laws. Apple has yet to comment.

Last week, Bytedance challenged the ban order in India's Supreme Court, arguing that it went against freedom of speech rights in India, but when the case was referred back to the state court a judge rejected the request to put the ban order on hold. Bytedance has been asked to give written submissions in the case, which is scheduled to have its next hearing on April 24.

This isn't the first time a country has taken action against TikTok. In February, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission fined the app's developers $5.7 million to settle allegations of child privacy law violations, after TikTok was accused of collecting personal data from users under the age of 13 without seeking parental consent.

Tag: India

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Foxconn to Begin Production on iPhone X in India This July

Foxconn is set to begin production of the iPhone X in India this July, according to a report by The Economic Times. Production will take place at Foxconn's Chennai plant in eastern India.


According to an official with knowledge of the company's plans, Foxconn hopes to step up production capacity and "diversify to even higher models going forward." Today's report sees Foxconn's plans to move some of its production outside of China begin to take shape, following the manufacturer's trial production of the iPhone X earlier this month.

News about Foxconn's plans to produce high-end iPhones in India emerged late last year. According to a Reuters report, Foxconn invested $356 million to expand an existing plant and take on the new iPhone production, creating as many as 25,000 jobs in the process.

Foxconn has been considering expanding its production plants in India as a way to diversify its supply chain away from China, where most of the Taiwan-based firm's facilities currently reside. Apple manufactures most of its iPhones through Foxconn, but the latter's growing India base provides security in the face of Apple's vulnerability to rising U.S.-China tensions over trade and technology.

Previously, Apple partnered with Wistron to produce iPhones in India, including the iPhone SE and iPhone 6s. When building iPhones in India, Apple is able to avoid import duties placed on imported smartphones and their components. More production in the country also helps Apple meet India's 30 percent local sourcing requirement that would allow Apple to open its own local retail stores.

Production of the iPhone X family in India appears to be part of Apple's revamped India strategy, which also includes better and longer-lasting retail deals with higher sales targets, the opening of official Apple retail stores in India, "overhauling" the company's relationship with independent retailers, and improving apps and services "aimed more closely at Indians." Due to the high price of iPhones in India, and other reasons, Apple has continually struggled in the country, leading to the new strategy.

Related Roundup: iPhone X
Tags: Foxconn, India

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Apple Music Subscription Prices Slashed in India

Apple has cut the price of all Apple Music plans in India, in a move apparently aimed at fending off rival streaming services like Spotify and YouTube Music, both of which recently launched in the country within the last month.


Apple Music is now being offered for Rs 99 ($1.43) a month, down from the earlier price of Rs 120 ($1.73).

Likewise, a student membership now costs Rs 49 instead of Rs 60, while a family plan has dropped from Rs 190 to Rs 149. Yearly subscriptions meanwhile cost Rs 999 rather than the earlier price of Rs 1,200.

The new price of an Apple Music membership undercuts both Spotify and YouTube Music, whose monthly premium plans start at Rs 119 and Rs 129, respectively.

India is seen as an untapped market for streaming music services, with a population of 1.3 billion people many of whom are only just becoming active internet users.

Home to a thriving and varied multi-lingual music scene, the country already has several local streaming services like JioSaavn and Gaana, but with the big international players making their debut in the country, competition appears to be hotting up.

(Via The Indian Express.)


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Apple Cuts iPhone XR Prices in India

Apple has reportedly cut iPhone prices in India by around a quarter, following a similar move by the company in China.

Sources who spoke to Reuters on Thursday said the price of an iPhone XR with 64GB storage has been reduced by at least 17,900 rupees ($259), taking into account a price cut and a credit card cashback campaign.

"Apple is going to change their game," one of the people said, adding the company could also adjust prices for other devices depending on their demand.

On Apple’s India website, the price of the 64 GB iPhone XR was unchanged at 76,900 rupees, but is on sale for less than 59,000 rupees at stores, the people said.
Prices for the other two storage variants of the iPhone XR have also dropped, according to Reuters' sources, who called the pricing a "short-term promotional offer."

With smartphone sales flattening in saturated markets like the U.S., Apple is said to have turned to India for new growth, but with "little success so far," claimed a report in December.

Just one in four Indians own a smartphone, providing Apple with an opportunity to sell iPhones to millions of new customers in the country.

However, with more than 75 percent of the smartphones sold in the country said to cost less than $250, India remains a very price-sensitive market, and a tough nut to crack for Apple.

According to research firm Canalys, the number of iPhones shipped in India fell 40 percent in 2018 compared with 2017, and Apple's market share in the country dropped to about one percent from about two percent.

Earlier this week, Apple also lowered the prices of several products in China, including the latest iPhones, iPads, and AirPods. The price cuts appeared to be due in part to a reduction in China's value-added tax (VAT), but any price cuts in China should be good news for Apple as it seeks to bolster sales there, too.

Last quarter, Apple issued a revenue warning due to "fewer iPhone upgrades" than it anticipated and "significantly greater" than expected economic weakness in the Greater China region. Apple had already discounted iPhone prices at third-party resellers in China to improve results.

Tag: India

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Apple Partner Foxconn Nears Trial Production of Latest iPhones in India

iPhone assembler Foxconn is close to trialing production of Apple's latest smartphones in India, according to a new report out today from Bloomberg.

The trial run of the iPhone X range of devices would come before Foxconn starts full-scale assembly at its factory outside the southern city of Chennai, the people said, asking not to be identified as the plans are private. Wistron Corp. already produces older models, such as the iPhone 6s, iPhone SE and iPhone 7, at a plant in Bangalore.
Foxconn has been considering expanding its production plants in India as a way to diversify its supply chain away from China, where most of the Taiwan-based firm's facilities currently reside. Apple currently manufactures most of its iPhones through Foxconn, but the latter's growing India base provides security in the face of Apple's vulnerability to rising U.S.-China tensions over trade and technology.

Manufacturing iPhones in India could also help Apple lower prices by allowing it to avoid a tariff that adds 20 percent to devices imported from China. It could also help Apple meet India's 30 percent local sourcing requirement that would allow the company to open its own retail stores in the country.

Apple's market share in the country dropped to about one percent in 2018, from about two percent the previous year, as the phones' higher prices deter customers. Consumers in India bought more than 140 million smartphones last year but just 1.7 million of those were sold by Apple, with users favoring cheaper homegrown models from the likes of Xiaomi.

Late last year it was reported that Foxconn would invest around $356 million to expand its facilities in India to begin assembling Apple's high-end iPhones.

Tags: Foxconn, India

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Apple Partner Wistron Gets Initial Approval for New iPhone Factory in India

Apple's main iPhone manufacturer in India has won initial approval to build a new smartphone factory in the country.

The Economic Times reports that India's IT ministry has given assent to Taiwan-based Wistron to construct the new factory, which now just needs approval from the Indian Cabinet to go ahead. Wistron will make cheaper iPhones in the new plant, reportedly beginning with the iPhone 8.


Foxconn meanwhile is poised to build Apple's latest high-end smartphones, including the iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max, once its application gets similar approval by the relevant government departments. Foxconn sees production plants in India as a way to diversify its supply chain away from China, where most of the Taiwan-based firm's facilities currently reside.

Apple has been pushing to set up an iPhone manufacturing hub in India ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi began promoting his "Made in India" initiative, which requires that 30 percent of products sold by foreign companies be manufactured or produced within the country.

India is the world's second largest smartphone market, but just one in four Indians are said to own a smartphone, providing Apple with an opportunity to sell iPhones to millions of new customers in the country. However Apple is said to have had little success so far in what is a very price-sensitive market, with more than 75 percent of the smartphones sold in the country costing less than $250, according to one report.

Apple revamped its India strategy in 2018 to include better and longer-lasting retail deals with higher sales targets, the debut of official Apple retail stores in India, and an overhaul of the company's relationship with independent retailers.

Tag: India

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iPhone Assembler Foxconn Looks to India to Diversify Supply Chain Away From China

A larger portion of the world's iPhones could one day be manufactured in India, if a new report by the Wall Street Journal proves accurate.

According to Tuesday's report, Apple's main iPhone assembler Foxconn is considering building production plants in India as a way to diversify its supply chain away from China, where most of the Taiwan-based firm's facilities currently reside.

Executives at Foxconn, a contract manufacturer that assembles a large portion of the world’s iPhones in China, are studying whether to include an India project in budget plans, one of the people said. Senior executives, possibly including Chairman Terry Gou, plan to visit India after next month’s Lunar New Year to discuss plans, the people familiar said.
Apple currently manufactures most of its iPhones through Foxconn, but the latter's potential new project in India points to Apple's vulnerability to rising U.S.-China tensions over trade and technology. Both Apple and Foxconn declined to comment on today's report, but it is thought that manufacturing iPhones in India could help Apple lower prices by allowing it to avoid a tariff that adds 20 percent to devices imported from China.

Foxconn already has plants in India, and late last year it was reported that the firm would invest around $356 million to expand its facilities there to begin assembling Apple's high-end iPhones. Wistron assembles iPhone SE and iPhone 6s models in India exclusively for the Indian market, but the December report didn't say whether the high-end iPhones assembled by Foxconn would be sold in the country or elsewhere in the world.

Early last year, Apple revamped its India strategy in order to stay afloat in the country's smartphone market. This strategy includes better and longer-lasting retail deals with higher sales targets, the debut of official Apple retail stores in India, and an overhaul of the company's relationship with independent retailers.

Just one in four Indians own a smartphone, providing Apple with an opportunity to sell iPhones to millions of new customers in the country. However, Apple is said to have seen little success so far, with Apple's market share in the country dropping to about one percent in 2018, from about two percent the previous year.

Tags: Foxconn, India

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Samsung Prioritizes India With Launch of Galaxy M Series With Infinity-V Display

Later this month, Samsung will launch its new mid-range Galaxy M series. These are the first smartphones to feature the company's Infinity-V display, so-called due to its centered teardrop-shaped notch housing the front-facing camera.

Samsung has teased the Galaxy M Series launch on Amazon India

In another first for Samsung, the devices will be launching exclusively in India on January 28 ahead of a global release, in an attempt to regain ground lost to Chinese rivals like Xiaomi in the world's second biggest smartphone market.

The popularity of Xiaomi's budget Redmi smartphones among younger consumers is believed to be a factor in declining sales of Samsung devices in the country. According to data from Counterpoint, Xiaomi overtook Samsung's share of the Indian market in Q4 2017, and maintained a five point lead over the company as recently as Q3 2018.

The Galaxy M series is being seen as a direct counter to Xiaomi Redmi, and the Korean company has indicated as much. "The M series has been built around and incepted around Indian millennial consumers," said Samsung India's senior vice president Asim Warsi, speaking to Reuters.


The line-up is thought to include three models, the M10, M20, and M30, which feature one, two, and three rear-facing cameras, respectively, a USB-C port, a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, and a headphone jack. The M-series phones, which Samsung plans to sell only through its website and Amazon India, also promise fast charging, long battery life, and high performance, all for a price of between $140 and $280.

With smartphone sales flattening in saturated markets like the United States, Apple is said to have turned to India for new growth, but with little success so far, according to a report published late last year.

Just one in four Indians are said to own a smartphone, providing Apple with an opportunity to sell iPhones to millions of new customers in the country. According to the report, Apple's problem is that India is a very price-sensitive market, with more than 75 percent of the smartphones sold in the country costing less than $250.


However, so far Apple has been reluctant to change its traditional business model for selling iPhones, which prioritizes a limited number of coveted products sold at high prices. In that sense, by offering a range of handsets with affordable high-end options, Samsung appears to be attempting a level of regional flexibility that Apple has yet to chance.

Tags: Samsung, India

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