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'India' Articles

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

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

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

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

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.)

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

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

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

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

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

Apple Maps Gains Turn-by-Turn Directions for India

Apple has added turn-by-turn navigation to Apple Maps for India. The app now offers the detailed directions for driving and walking, with options to book a ride through Uber and Ola also showing within the app. Still missing for users in India is public transit information, lane guidance and speed limits, although given that the addition of turn-by-turn directions is part of an ongoing improvement to Apple Maps, these are likely to follow. Rival Google Maps has been the de facto navigation app in India for some time, thanks to its driving, walking, and public transport modes. Users of the app have also benefited from the development of region-specific special features like "two-wheeler" mode which provides motorcycle and scooter users with shortcuts across cities. By contrast, Apple's navigational contributions in the country have come in for some criticism, with some users calling out the app's sparse data for a number of cities and towns, including missing landmarks. The introduction of turn-by-turn directions comes nearly three years after Apple announced the opening of a Hyderabad-based development center focused on improving Apple Maps in India. (Thanks, Ram!)

Apple Partnering With Foxconn to Build High-End iPhone Models in India Next Year

Following the iPhone SE and iPhone 6s, Apple will begin assembling its high-end iPhones in India sometime in 2019, according to a new report today by Reuters. Instead of Wistron, Foxconn will build the high-end iPhones, and these models are said to be the most expensive flagship devices offered by Apple, including the iPhone X family. Local sources state that the work will occur in Foxconn's plant in Sriperumbudur town in the southern state of Tamil Nadu. Foxconn will reportedly invest 25 billion Indian rupees ($356 million) to expand the plant, part of which will be focused on the production of the flagship iPhones in India. The investment is estimated to create as many as 25,000 jobs. The report doesn't say whether these high-end iPhones will be sold in the Indian market or elsewhere in the world. Earlier this year, Apple revamped its India strategy in order to stay afloat in the country's smartphone market. This revamped strategy includes better and longer-lasting retail deals with higher sales targets, the debut of official Apple retail stores in India, an overhaul of the company's relationship with independent retailers, and improving apps and services for local users. This is said to include a new version of Apple Maps aimed at Indian users to launch by 2020. The expansion of high-end iPhone assembly outside of China could also be an attempt by Apple to "limit the impact" of a trade war between the United States and China: For Apple, widening assembly beyond China is critical to mitigate the risks of the Sino-U.S. trade war. Foxconn, the world’s biggest

Apple Has Encountered 'Little Success' Growing in India Due to High Prices of iPhones

The Wall Street Journal has published an in-depth look at Apple's efforts to grow its sales in India, the "world's biggest untapped tech market." 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." The report claims that just one in four Indians own a smartphone, providing Apple with an opportunity to sell iPhones to millions of new customers in the country. The issue 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." Apple-authorized reseller Flipkart continues to sell the iPhone SE in India for around $250, but other iPhone models are priced between the equivalent of $325 and $1,950 in the country, well above the budgets of many Indian customers. The Wall Street Journal explains:At the heart of the issue is Apple's reluctance to change its traditional business model for selling the iPhone. Rather than make a range of handsets, it has prioritized a limited number of coveted products, sold at high prices—a strategy that revived the company after near bankruptcy in 1997 and helped make it the first U.S. public company to reach a $1 trillion valuation.The report claims the number of iPhones shipped in India has fallen 40 percent so far this year compared with 2017, and Apple's market share in the country has dropped to about one percent from about two percent, citing research firm Canalys. Apple created a five-year plan to increase Apple's sales in India to $5

Apple Shelves Plans for Apple Pay in India After Facing Regulatory Issues and Technical Hurdles

Apple has temporarily halted plans to launch Apple Pay in India after facing troubles with regulators in the country and a few technical hurdles, according to The Economic Times. Specifically, Apple is said to be concerned about the Reserve Bank of India's recent data localization rule, which requires companies to store all of their payments data for local users only in India. Because of this rule, numerous companies -- including Apple, Amazon, PayPal, WhatsApp, Visa, and MasterCard -- have faced uncertainties regarding the rollout of their respective mobile wallets in India. Apple is said to have gone so far as to meet with a few leading banks and the National Payments Corporation of India, which manages the country's Unified Payments Interface platform. In addition, Apple has reportedly encountered a few technical and design hurdles surrounding Apple Pay's India launch, relating to the inclusion of Touch ID as a mode of authentication for payments in India on supported iPhones. The NPCI did not agree to this plan, because the country's UPI is based on a six or four-digit passcode to authenticate transactions and does not have support for smartphone-based biometric security features yet. Following these hurdles, plans as of now have been shelved, according to two people familiar with the matter. “Apple will not launch payments in India yet. They are waiting to see how the regulatory landscape shapes up,” one of them said. The Apple Pay news is just the latest in a string of negative reports regarding Apple's attempt at expansion in India, one month after the

Apple's Revamped India Strategy Includes 5-6 'Flagship Premium Reseller' Outlets in Major Cities

In an ongoing effort to boost sales in India, Apple is reportedly planning to upgrade its authorized reseller locations in five to six "extremely prominent locations" in India's metropolitan cities. The stores are being referred to as "Flagship Apple Premium Reseller" outlets. While not official Apple stores, the locations will each be "at least three times larger" than the current reseller stores, which average about 1,000-1,500 square feet (via The Economic Times). According to three senior industry executives, Apple may go up to as much as 5,000 square feet for the improved reseller locations in an effort to build them as "anchor shops" in malls and high-traffic outdoor shopping areas. Apple will reportedly start construction on the flagship outlets first in New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Chennai. Sometime after those locations, the company will then open outlets in Hyderabad and Pune. A specific grand opening window for these outlets was not given. “With company-owned Apple Stores yet to take shape in the country, Apple wants some of the franchisee run outlets to up the experience game through this new format. This is part of Apple’s new India strategy to focus on selling on experience rather than discount,” he said. Apple is even open to the idea of a couple of these flagship stores being as large as 5,000 square feet if a suitable location is available. “The key is getting the right location, which is not easy. A team from the company is identifying locations,” an executive said. The outlets are part of Apple's revamped India strategy, which

Apple Faces Potential Legal Threat From Indian Regulator Over Noncompliance With Anti-Spam iPhone App

Just a few days after Bloomberg revealed Apple's revamped India strategy, including changes that the company hopes will boost its lackluster smartphone market share in the country, a report by Reuters today has pointed out another hurdle for Apple's India plan. The new report concerns Apple's work with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) over the development of an anti-spam iPhone app, which dates back nearly two years. Indian users constantly have to deal with spam phone calls, leading to the government's decision to build its own smartphone app that would let users mark and report spam callers. Reuters previously reported in March that work on the app was deadlocked as Apple continuously raised concerns over the privacy implications of allowing the app broad access to customers' calls and text logs. Following months of Apple pointing out privacy loopholes in the app -- which has been available on Android in India since 2016 -- TRAI last month threatened Apple by stating that its smartphones could be "derecognized" from the country's networks. This means that while iPhones would still be available for purchase in India, users would not be able to connect to any supported cellular network and would lose many of the features that they likely purchased the iPhone for. TRAI's derecognition threat was specified in a letter sent to Indian telecom firms over the summer, notifying the firms that TRAI would give them six months notice to derecognize devices from their networks if the phones in question do not support the anti-spam app. With that

Apple Plans Revamped India Strategy With Official Stores, Year-Long iPhone Deals, and Improved Apps

Apple's ongoing struggles in India have been scrutinized repeatedly over the past few years, and today a new report by Bloomberg has looked into Apple's plan to stay afloat in what's considered the world's "fastest-growing smartphone market." 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. This plan was kicked off when Apple executive Michel Coulomb began overseeing the company's India strategy at the end of 2017. According to the new report, 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." This last point particularly includes a "revamped" version of Apple Maps that is aimed to launch by 2020. On the point of services, earlier this year Indian iPhone users discussed Apple's poor performance in this area and one user specifically called Apple Maps "a joke" in the country. While some services like Apple Music were favorably received, others like Siri were identified as low points for Indian customers, as the assistant "often struggles" with local accents and does not understand "many words of Indian origination." For retail, the official Apple stores are said to open in 2019 and eventually include locations in New Delhi, Bengaluru, and Mumbai. While the Indian

WhatsApp Limits Message Forwarding to Cut Down on Hoaxes and Misinformation

WhatsApp says it is limiting the ability to forward messages to multiple chats at once in an attempt to reduce the spread of spam and misinformation. The news follows WhatsApp's recent decision to add labels that indicate to users that a message has been forwarded. The change was announced by the company in a blog post that specifically mentions India, where the spreading of fake messages over the chat platform has reportedly incited lynchings. Today, we're launching a test to limit forwarding that will apply to everyone using WhatsApp. In India - where people forward more messages, photos, and videos than any other country in the world - we'll also test a lower limit of 5 chats at once and we'll remove the quick forward button next to media messages. We believe that these changes — which we'll continue to evaluate — will help keep WhatsApp the way it was designed to be: a private messaging app.WhatsApp's wording suggests the limit is a test, however a spokesperson told Recode that the company was "horrified" by the violence in India, and that it had announced several changes to help address the issues. On Thursday, the BBC reported on one incident in India that left one man dead and two others severely injured after false rumors went viral on WhatsApp that they had tried to abduct children. It's the latest in a series of viral message-related crimes in the country that has resulted in 12 dead over the last month. (Via TechCrunch

Apple Restructures Sales Team in India Amid Sluggish Growth

Apple sold fewer than a million iPhones in India in the first half of 2018, according to Bloomberg. The company has suffered slowing sales in the world's second largest smartphone market, which has reportedly seen three high-ranking sales executives leave Apple as the company restructures its operations there. Among the executives who've departed are its national sales and distribution chief, the head of its commercial channels and mid-market business, and the head of telecom carrier sales, said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing internal matters. Apple's Indian sales team is now undergoing a restructuring, one of the people said.Apple has a 2 percent market share in India, according to Counterpoint Research. It sold 3.2 million iPhones in the country in 2017, but high tariffs on imported electronic devices continue to push consumers toward cheaper alternatives from Xiaomi, Samsung, and other phone makers. In February, India announced the latest tax increase on imported mobile phones from 15 percent to 20 percent, and that came under two months after the previous increase. Last year, Apple started manufacturing the iPhone SE and iPhone 6S in India in an effort to exempt the phones from import duties and reduce their price, but the company's facilities have yet to start running at full capacity. Apple doesn't manufacture its latest iPhone models domestically, so they still incur import levies. "iPhone India sales were weak in the first half of 2018 and, even if they show a big jump in the traditionally strong second half, Apple will still fall

Apple Begins Production of iPhone 6s in India

Apple has begun commercial production on the iPhone 6s in India as of last week, according to a new report by The Economic Times, following local manufacturing for the iPhone SE that kicked off in India last year. Production on the 6s started at the Wistron facility in Bangalore, and the model was chosen due to its "sales potential," two senior industry executives reportedly said. Due to the locally-made devices, Apple will now be able to exempt the iPhone 6s from import duties placed on imported smartphones and their components, which has been an ongoing struggle for the company. A few months ago in February, India announced the latest tax increase on imported mobile phones from 15 percent to 20 percent, and it came under two months after the previous increase. The tax increases are related to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India" program, which aims to promote the country's domestic manufacturing so that more companies build products there. After the iPhone SE plant was set up in early 2017, the iPhone 6s was rumored to be the next of Apple's smartphones to get an "Assembled in India" stamp on the back of each device. Now, iPhone 6s production in Bangalore has begun and retail availability in the country is expected sometime "soon." "The made-in-India iPhone 6s will be only sold in India like iPhone SE since it will take time to scale up capacity. In fact, Apple will continue with the import of iPhone 6s until capacity improves. Hence, there will be no price correction for the locally manufactured units. The made-in-India iPhone 6s model will hit the