The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple is on the verge of a significant expansion of its iPhone sales effort in India, bringing on two large distribution companies to help bring the device to more points of sale. The iPhone has so far been available almost exclusively through mobile phone carriers in the country, but with the iPhone 5 reportedly launching next week, the company appears to be significantly expanding its operations.

A person who has knowledge of the plans says Apple will begin selling the iPhone through specialized distribution companies in an attempt to reach a wider audience, especially Indians who live in thousands of smaller towns.

The Cupertino, Calif. company has recently tied up the local operations of Ingram Micro Inc., a large U.S.-based distributor of technology, and Redington (India) Ltd., a local distributor with 12,000 smaller partners across the country, the person said.

Apple has existing relationships with the two distribution companies, using them to offer products such as the iPad but reportedly having held the iPhone back from them for fear of eating into profit margins.

iphone 5 coming soon
But with Apple's share of the mobile phone market in India falling by half year-over-year to 1.2% in the second quarter, the company may now be willing to sacrifice some profits in an effort to bolster its position in the country. Still, analysts believe that Apple's market share will remain low there given the premium pricing and the fact that over 70% of phones sold in the country are priced at under $100.

While Apple has been most heavily focused on China among emerging markets, there have been signs that the company is looking at the possibility of expanding its presence in India. Earlier this year it was reported that Apple was looking at opening retail stores in the country, but requirements for domestic sourcing of materials appear to be hindering those plans. In the absence of Apple-owned retail stores, the company earlier this year was also hiring staff for an effort to expand its reseller network in the country.

Tag: wsj.com
Related Forum: iPhone

Top Rated Comments

Winni Avatar
118 months ago
I think the Indian population is more concern about their every day standard of living than a cell phone.

I think you should travel the world first before you make wild assumptions based upon what you saw on underclass TV.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
colbertnation Avatar
118 months ago
Hey Eric Slivka, Arn, and MacRumors team,

I think it is important to mention in your articles about India and China some absolute numbers, on top of relative percentage numbers. While it is true that 70% of the phones sold in India are priced under $100, that also means that 30% of the phones sold are priced above $100. 30% might not seem like a lot, but if you put that in absolute terms, that represents 75 million handsets in India. (Source: Rediff Business article (http://www.rediff.com/business/slide-show/slide-show-1-tech-mobile-handset-sales-to-boom-in-india/20121011.htm)).

Also, it might be beneficial to include absolute population terms. If we assume that the iPhone 5 16GB version (being sold at say $800) is only affordable to say 3% of the total population of India, then it will not seem that much. To many uninformed people, it will simply be "3%?! That's it?! Why bother."

But in absolute terms, 3% of the Indian population represents 33 million people.

That's a potential customer base that can rival most European countries, only if looked on an absolute number scale.

That's why, my humble opinion is that MacRumors should include absolute numbers when talking about the two heavily populated countries like India and China. Thanks!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BC2009 Avatar
118 months ago
How about we make a phone with a screen bigger than 4 inches of. I'm glad I switched to a bigger gs3. Tired of apples crap.

How about you stay on topic, I'm tired of this "bigger is better" crap. If you wanted bigger you should have got a decent phone like the HTC One X. At least the One X does not flex and creak in your hand when you grip it. Also the One X has a better display by a wide margin. Either way if you really switched from iPhone to GS3 (assuming you are not just making this up and trolling) and you actually liked your new phone then why bother posting? All these supposed people who "left Apple and haven't looked back" just can't seem to leave Apple alone. Yet JD Power customer satisfaction surveys say 94% of iPhone owners intend to buy another iPhone. Somehow the plethora of forum posts like these doesn't match up with reality. I suppose the entire 6% who are dissatisfied with Apple all have MacRumors accounts. :rolleyes:
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
arjunj Avatar
118 months ago
Leave India to Nokia(Micro****) and Google. That's not a market worth pursuing. The country doesn't get quality, and the only ones I see buying this are status conscious rich kids and their daddies, and that's a handful of them left in India cos most of them have already flown the coop.

*applause* Where else do you see such wisdom, ladies and gentlemen?

I would like to thank you, kind sir, for taking the time out of your undoubtedly busy schedule to impart us lesser mortals with some much needed knowledge.

I could have sworn that India was one of the largest markets in the world for anything premium and seeing that every second person here seems to own something from the Apple product line, I would've considered it a massive untapped market for Apple. But obviously I was wrong - as you've told us, the country just doesn't get quality, right?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hakuna-matata Avatar
118 months ago
India: post iPhone 5 prices of all phones:

iPhone 4 (8 gb) - 550$
iPhone 4s(16gb)- 780$
iPhone 5 (16gb) - 889$

Samsung Galaxy S3 - 629$
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 -694$
Htc One X (16 gb) - 589$

^^^daa *** is wrong with apple when it comes to pricing in India?? Do they go full retard or something??

Notice the difference between HTC One X and 2 year old iphone 4 (8 GB version)
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iKaushal Avatar
118 months ago
The problem with previous iPhone releases here in India was the price. Even though when the iPhone 3G, 3GS & 4 were released tied to the mobile operators, they didnt subsidise the phone a bit. Also their iPhone specific talk plans were a rip off or day light robbery.

With iPhone 4S Apple started to sell via operators frirst and then later via its authorised resellers, but again the prices were kept very high.

This has prevented the high penetration in Indian market.

If the iPhone was released like in USA at $199 (INR 11,000) tied to an operator, then it would had captured the marked and outsold any other smartphone here.

Sadly that was not the case...and hopefully Apple will rectify this problem by selling atleast the unlocked handsets with prices at par with Global unlocked handsets.

The earnings of most well educated Indians atleast in metros is pretty good and they can easily afford unlocked iPhones even at current sky high prices. i've seen lots of people with iPhone in India although their ratio compared to Android or BlackBerry is low. But with competitive prices from Apple, this will soon change.

I've used every model of iPhone from 2G to 4....skipped the 4S and now waiting to buy the 64 GB iPhone 5 on launch day.:apple:
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
bluetti eb70 main

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Bluetti EB70 Portable Power Station and 200W Solar Panel

Friday September 3, 2021 11:13 am PDT by
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with MAXOAK to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a Bluetti portable power station and an accompanying solar panel. Bluetti makes a range of portable power station options that are useful for camping, emergencies, power outages, off-grid living, and similar situations. The Bluetti EB70 is a solid middle of the road option that offers 716Wh and...
personal hotspot 1

Apple Acknowledges Personal Hotspot Issues Affecting Some iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 Users

Saturday March 21, 2020 10:04 am PDT by
In an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers this week, obtained by MacRumors, Apple has acknowledged that some iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 users may experience issues with Personal Hotspot. Apple has told Authorized Service Providers to expect customers who are unable to connect to a Personal Hotspot or experience frequent disconnection from one. Customers may also...
iphone 13 teal with text

Apple Begins Preparation for iPhone 13 Production Ahead of Fall Launch

Monday June 28, 2021 3:29 am PDT by
We're just a few months away from when Apple is expected to reveal the 2021 iPhone, dubbed the "iPhone 13." In preparation for its launch, it has been pulling in shipments of different components needed to produce the new iPhones, according to a report from DigiTimes. In years past, Apple released its latest iPhone lineup, alongside a new Apple Watch, during a September event at Apple Park....
General Spotify Feature

Spotify Partners With Delta to Provide Free In-Flight Music and Podcasts Service

Thursday September 2, 2021 12:59 am PDT by
Spotify has announced a new partnership with Delta that will see the streaming service take over the "audio" section of Delta's in-flight seatback entertainment, making select playlists and podcasts freely available to all passengers. You are now free to roam about the cabin—and get the music and podcasts you love at 30,000 feet. Beginning today, we're taking off in a new partnership with...