Huawei gets bullish on India. Is Apple Listening?

Many months ago, Pi asked if India is a dumping ground for Apple? Though the company’s new chief executive “loves India,” the situation is more or less the same today. But can Apple choose to ignore India for long? Perhaps not.

True, that price sensitive Indians don’t buy smartphones in large quantities like the Americans or the Chinese. But it is a growing market and seems to be bucking slowing trend elsewhere. The Indian smartphone market is pegged to touch 18 million units in 2012 and with 884 million mobile subscribers, there is only one way the appetite for smartphones can go and that is UP! The smartphone market in India grew 17 % in the first quarter of 2012 according to Gartner.

Besides, Apple’s chief rival Samsung has been making hay in the country. The Korean phone maker which is fighting a bitter patent war with Apple in the United States, owns 40 % of the Indian smartphone market and is looking to corner 60 %  of the market in 2012.

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In the first quarter of 2012, even as global handset sales dipped 2 %, Indian mobile handset market grew 6 %, according to Gartner. Mobile sales in India is estimated to hit 231 million units this year, compared to 213 million units last year. In the latest quarter, worldwide mobile sales again declined by 2.3 % to 449 mn units.

Meanwhile, other phone makers have also announced aggressive plans to improve their presence in India. Chinese phone maker Huawei recently said that not only will it start manufacturing smartphones from Chennai, but it will also spread over 200 cities and 20,000 outlets in the next three years.

Somehow, the Cupertino headquartered company which is “very excited” about China does not seem to be all that interested in India.  When asked at its recent earnings announcement, Apple’s Chief Executive Officer, Tim Cook said:

“I love India, but I believe Apple has some higher potential in the intermediate term in some other countries. This doesn’t mean we’re not putting emphasis in India. We have a business there and it’s growing but my own perspective is that, in the intermediate term, there will be larger opportunities outside (the country).”

Well, thank you very much. But can we have the new devices launched in India when its still new?

What are your thoughts?

* Image: Appadvice.com

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