Apple makes slow pivot to India as China sales cool

Posted:
in General Discussion edited October 2016
Once Apple's largest growth market, revenues from Greater China slid 30 percent during the fourth fiscal quarter of 2016, prompting the company to turn at least part of its focus toward prospects in India.




In announcing earnings on Tuesday, Apple revealed Greater China revenues of $8.8 billion, down 30 percent from $12.5 billion in the year ago quarter. And while the company saw negative year-over-year compares in the Americas and the Asia Pacific region, China was the only market to post a sequential decline from fiscal quarter three.

The negative results follow a similarly steep 33 percent dip in China revenue seen in the June quarter.

During an investor conference call, Apple CEO Tim Cook attributes the downward trend to a massive uptick in demand driven by the launch of iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in 2015. The large-screened iPhones spurred a surge of upgrades worldwide, but no region was more impacted than China.

Upgrade rates returned to normal in 2016, causing a different problem for Apple. The company boosted channel inventory in the first quarter of that year after incorrectly forecasting demand, forcing an inventory reset in subsequent quarters.

Still, Apple is confident the Chinese market will equalize, especially after an initially positive response to iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

"We are very bullish on China," Cook said. "We continue to see a middle class that is booming there. There might be some sort of a new normal in the economy, but a new normal there is still a good growth rate."

That being said, Apple is making a slow pivot to India. At the top of today's conference call, Cook announced a partnership with Indian telco Reliance Jio, which is working to build out an all-IP 4G network in India that will bring coverage to 18,000 cities and 200,000 villages across the country. Further, Jio is offering a free year of service to iPhone buyers.

Fast, robust cellular networks are vital to iPhone's success. Like other smartphones, many iPhone features require internet connectivity, something not yet widely available in India. Cook, however, noted government investments into a working technical infrastructure are enabling consumer access to technology like iPhone.

"Our iPhone sales in India were up over 50 percent 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.

Responding to an analyst question, Cook noted almost half of all Indians are under the age of 25, and the already populous country is expected to swell beyond China in the next decade. India's GDP is on the way up, as well, though might not be a factor in iPhone's success.

"That's not critical for us to have a great success there," he said. "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's a lot of headroom there in our mind. So, we're working very hard to realize that opportunity."

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    Good luck with that.....way too many phone choices there and few with enough $$
    SpamSandwichjbdragon
  • Reply 2 of 17
    India is even more backward than China. I doubt there's much of a high-end product market there.
  • Reply 3 of 17
    securtis said:
    Good luck with that.....way too many phone choices there and few with enough $$
    This is the only ultra-large market left for substantial future mobile phone growth based on the product portfolio Apple currenly has. Period. They have to figure out a way to make it work. It's not like they don't know how, despite naysayers and pooh-pooh-ers like you.

    India has about 200M smartphone users already, on top of half a billion internet connections and over a billion cellphone connections. 4G is rolling out in a huge way. Reliance Telecom has introduced incredibly aggressive, almost giveaway pricing on mobile plans, betting on ecosystem growth. With the unique digital ID system now covering 90% of Indians, i.e., over one billion people (it's called "Aadhaar" -- check it out -- and it's something that countries like the US and China can only dream of, currently) there's a massive app economy poised for huge takeoff.

    Amazon is making bets, as are Google, Samsung, and Microsoft. I am glad that Tim Cook isn't as foolish as people like you think he might be on this front. You really might consider educating yourself a bit more on what's going on out there.
    edited October 2016 jony0hmmcali
  • Reply 4 of 17
    securtis said:
    Good luck with that.....way too many phone choices there and few with enough $$
    This is the only ultra-large market left for substantial future mobile phone growth based on the product portfolio Apple currenly has. Period. They have to figure out a way to make it work. It's not like they don't know how, despite naysayers and pooh-pooh-ers like you.

    India has about 200M smartphone users already, on top of half a billion internet connections and over a billion cellphone connections. 4G is rolling out in a huge way. Reliance Telecom has introduced incredibly aggressive, almost giveaway pricing on mobile plans, betting on ecosystem growth. With the unique digital ID system now covering 90% of Indians, i.e., over one billion people (it's called "Aadhaar" -- check it out -- and it's something that countries like the US and China can only dream of, currently) there's a massive app economy poised for huge takeoff.

    Amazon is making bets, as are Google, Samsung, and Microsoft. I am glad that Tim Cook isn't as foolish as people like you think he might be on this front. You really might consider educating yourself a bit more on what's going on out there.
    I have.....WSJ/CNBC has articles about "aadhaar" and also an article last week highlighting indian women being banned from smartphones by their male family members. Popular smartphones in india sell for between $70-$100 by chinese/korean makers in cutthroat competition leaving little room for profits. It's also funny that you mention aadhaar in that the indian govt. specifically invited apple to a meeting concerning its rollout this July and apple was a no show.....

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-13/india-wants-apple-and-google-phones-to-use-government-encryption

    I believe apple will need to bend to their privacy demands if they want to make money in India and China. India will probably force aadhaar on phone makers in the near future and I could see China doing something similar.
    edited October 2016 SpamSandwich
  • Reply 5 of 17
    securtis said:
    securtis said:
    Good luck with that.....way too many phone choices there and few with enough $$
    This is the only ultra-large market left for substantial future mobile phone growth based on the product portfolio Apple currenly has. Period. They have to figure out a way to make it work. It's not like they don't know how, despite naysayers and pooh-pooh-ers like you.

    India has about 200M smartphone users already, on top of half a billion internet connections and over a billion cellphone connections. 4G is rolling out in a huge way. Reliance Telecom has introduced incredibly aggressive, almost giveaway pricing on mobile plans, betting on ecosystem growth. With the unique digital ID system now covering 90% of Indians, i.e., over one billion people (it's called "Aadhaar" -- check it out -- and it's something that countries like the US and China can only dream of, currently) there's a massive app economy poised for huge takeoff.

    Amazon is making bets, as are Google, Samsung, and Microsoft. I am glad that Tim Cook isn't as foolish as people like you think he might be on this front. You really might consider educating yourself a bit more on what's going on out there.
    I have.....WSJ/CNBC has articles about "aadhaar" and also an article last week highlighting indian women being banned from smartphones by their male family members. Popular smartphones in india sell for between $70-$100 by chinese/korean makers in cutthroat competition leaving little room for profits. It's also funny that you mention aadhaar; they specifically invited apple to a meeting concerning its rollout this July and apple was a no show.....
    Yep, WSJ/CNBC are a terrific source of info on Indian culture and mores. What does 'highlighting' mean in your parlance? Did they provide any empirical data on this supposed phone-snatching phenomenon, or was it a passing sentence or anecdote enough for your confirmation bias to kick in?

    What "rollout" of aadhaar in July are you taking about? No one in the private sector is waiting on some government agency to "rollout" anything AFAIK. The digital ID system is already well in place, and the development of the mobile/app economy has zero to do with the government. Perhaps you really should look up the system...

    Incidentally, "Popular smartphones ...[that].. sell for between $70-$100 by chinese/korean makers" are the norm just about every developing country. China was -- and perhaps still is -- no exception.

    And all you did was pick one tiny piece of info in an otherwise broad post of mine.

    It's quite alight if you have a negative views of India and Indians. You would be far from the first, in this forum. But you should back up your views and assertions with actual facts, and more importantly why you think you know more about this than the CEO of a $650B corporation who thinks, and says, that India is one of the biggest pieces of his company's future. The data and trends I see seem to agree with Cook, not you.
    edited October 2016 hmmholyonecali
  • Reply 6 of 17
    Yep, WSJ/CNBC are a terrific source of info on Indian culture and mores. What does 'highlighting' mean in your parlance? Did they provide any empirical data on this supposed phone-snatching phenomenon, or was it a passing sentence or anecdote enough for your confirmation bias to kick in?

    What "rollout" of aadhaar in July are you taking about?

    Incidentally, "Popular smartphones ...[that].. sell for between $70-$100 by chinese/korean makers" are the norm just about every developing country. China was -- and perhaps still is -- no exception.

    And all you did was pick one tiny piece of info in an otherwise broad post of mine.

    It's quite alight if you have a negative views of India and Indians. You would be far from the first, in this forum. But you should back up your views and assertions with actual facts, and more importantly why you think you know more about this than the CEO of a $650B corporation who thinks, and says, that India is one of the biggest pieces of his company's future. The data and trends I see seem to agree with Cook, not you.
    I was just mentioning a few articles that I've read since you insinuated in a previous post that I was ignorant and should "educate myself." I didn't say that I agreed with any of their content however. You're assuming I do....

    There wasn't a rollout in july, I just said there was a meeting with govt. officials then concerning their thoughts on integration with smartphone makers.

    I don't have a negative view of india or indians. I think they are right on the money with many ideas including aadhaar. At the end of the day only 3% of their phone users currently use iOS. Which still can obviously means lots of $$$ for apple potentially. However, apple will be fighting with cheaper asian phones who will also be more willing to compromise user privacy.

    You seem quite angry
  • Reply 7 of 17
    securtis said:
    Yep, WSJ/CNBC are a terrific source of info on Indian culture and mores. What does 'highlighting' mean in your parlance? Did they provide any empirical data on this supposed phone-snatching phenomenon, or was it a passing sentence or anecdote enough for your confirmation bias to kick in?

    What "rollout" of aadhaar in July are you taking about?

    Incidentally, "Popular smartphones ...[that].. sell for between $70-$100 by chinese/korean makers" are the norm just about every developing country. China was -- and perhaps still is -- no exception.

    And all you did was pick one tiny piece of info in an otherwise broad post of mine.

    It's quite alight if you have a negative views of India and Indians. You would be far from the first, in this forum. But you should back up your views and assertions with actual facts, and more importantly why you think you know more about this than the CEO of a $650B corporation who thinks, and says, that India is one of the biggest pieces of his company's future. The data and trends I see seem to agree with Cook, not you.
    I was just mentioning a few articles that I've read since you insinuated in a previous post that I was ignorant and should "educate myself." I didn't say that I agreed with any of their content however. You're assuming I do....

    There wasn't a rollout in july, I just said there was a meeting with govt. officials then concerning their thoughts on integration with smartphone makers.

    I don't have a negative view of india or indians. I think they are right on the money with many ideas including aadhaar. At the end of the day only 3% of their phone users currently use iOS. Which still can obviously means lots of $$$ for apple potentially. However, apple will be fighting with cheaper asian phones who will also be more willing to compromise user privacy.

    You seem quite angry
    If you did not agree with their content, why are you quoting them? I am confused.

    And, what you said was ".. the Indian government [aadhaar] specifically invited Apple to a meeting concerning its rollout this July and Apple was a no-show." What rollout was that? I am confused.

    Is there any developing country market where Apple wont be fighting cheaper Asian phones? I am confused.

    Oh, I am not angry in the least. Just utterly confused by your posts: you make an assertion, then apparently provide evidence to back up that assertion, then you say you're not necessarily agreeing with any of their content. Perhaps it's my confusion that's coming through as anger. 

    More seriously, and to the question I've been asking, what do you think you know that Tim Cook does not? Is Cook out to lunch when he says India is the next huge potential for Apple?
  • Reply 8 of 17
    ben20ben20 Posts: 119member
    India has such a high poverty rate. Very sad ! Maybe Apple can create a few jobs for them as a nice gesture. There is no way the can catch up to China anytime soon.
    http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/02/asia/india-poor-census-secc/
    cali
  • Reply 9 of 17
    If you did not agree with their content, why are you quoting them? I am confused.

    And, what you said was ".. the Indian government [aadhaar] specifically invited Apple to a meeting concerning its rollout this July and Apple was a no-show." What rollout was that? I am confused.

    Is there any developing country market where Apple wont be fighting cheaper Asian phones? I am confused.

    Oh, I am not angry in the least. Just utterly confused by your posts: you make an assertion, then apparently provide evidence to back up that assertion, then you say you're not necessarily agreeing with any of their content. Perhaps it's my confusion that's coming through as anger. 

    More seriously, and to the question I've been asking, what do you think you know that Tim Cook does not? Is Cook out to lunch when he says India is the next huge potential for Apple?
    Since when does mentioning the topic of an article mean tacit approval or agreement with its contents? I was just mentioning these to show that I have at least a modicum of knowledge about the indian market. 

    Regarding the software rollout, read the bloomberg article I posted or some other one on forbes/verge/cnbc/wsj about it. Basically they want aadhaar capability baked into the phone on delivery. They wanted a meeting to discuss this as a possibility. 

    I agree that apple will always be fighting cheap asian phones, however, indians by and large are quite poor. The annual median per capita income in india in 2013 was $616. Even china was about 3x this.

    I think TC has to bank on india because it is the last (potential) massive growth market. I just think he underestimates the poverty and difficulty that he'll have working with the indian govt. The indian govt. will surely not give them unfettered access to the market. They will want production sourced there (foxconn is making a factory I think), aadhaar integrated, and other concessions. Will apple think it's worth the price? I don't know....only TC and the shareholders can answer that.
    edited October 2016
  • Reply 10 of 17
    jlanddjlandd Posts: 873member
    Now that it has had it's day in the sun, can we now strike "pivot" from this meaning?
  • Reply 11 of 17
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 726member
    Let Apple be Apple. No need to try to claim global dominance if it means lowering standards. 
  • Reply 12 of 17
    flaneurflaneur Posts: 4,468member
    jlandd said:
    Now that it has had it's day in the sun, can we now strike "pivot" from this meaning?
    Thank you. I hate this current fetish with the word "pivot." 

    It's business-speak for the simple-minded. And what the hell would a "slow pivot" be?



  • Reply 13 of 17
    See this and then comment. I think there is very little information about India. 

    https://youtu.be/ijvVHdF7Ekc
  • Reply 14 of 17
    jkichlinejkichline Posts: 1,309member
    securtis said:
    Yep, WSJ/CNBC are a terrific source of info on Indian culture and mores. What does 'highlighting' mean in your parlance? Did they provide any empirical data on this supposed phone-snatching phenomenon, or was it a passing sentence or anecdote enough for your confirmation bias to kick in?

    What "rollout" of aadhaar in July are you taking about?

    Incidentally, "Popular smartphones ...[that].. sell for between $70-$100 by chinese/korean makers" are the norm just about every developing country. China was -- and perhaps still is -- no exception.

    And all you did was pick one tiny piece of info in an otherwise broad post of mine.

    It's quite alight if you have a negative views of India and Indians. You would be far from the first, in this forum. But you should back up your views and assertions with actual facts, and more importantly why you think you know more about this than the CEO of a $650B corporation who thinks, and says, that India is one of the biggest pieces of his company's future. The data and trends I see seem to agree with Cook, not you.
    I was just mentioning a few articles that I've read since you insinuated in a previous post that I was ignorant and should "educate myself." I didn't say that I agreed with any of their content however. You're assuming I do....

    There wasn't a rollout in july, I just said there was a meeting with govt. officials then concerning their thoughts on integration with smartphone makers.

    I don't have a negative view of india or indians. I think they are right on the money with many ideas including aadhaar. At the end of the day only 3% of their phone users currently use iOS. Which still can obviously means lots of $$$ for apple potentially. However, apple will be fighting with cheaper asian phones who will also be more willing to compromise user privacy.

    You seem quite angry
    If you did not agree with their content, why are you quoting them? I am confused.

    And, what you said was ".. the Indian government [aadhaar] specifically invited Apple to a meeting concerning its rollout this July and Apple was a no-show." What rollout was that? I am confused.

    Is there any developing country market where Apple wont be fighting cheaper Asian phones? I am confused.

    Oh, I am not angry in the least. Just utterly confused by your posts: you make an assertion, then apparently provide evidence to back up that assertion, then you say you're not necessarily agreeing with any of their content. Perhaps it's my confusion that's coming through as anger. 

    More seriously, and to the question I've been asking, what do you think you know that Tim Cook does not? Is Cook out to lunch when he says India is the next huge potential for Apple?
    I think if you're confused, it might just be you. He was quoting what he knew through an article so he had researched probably to the extent he was able. Just because you quote something doesn't mean you agree with it.

    He said Apple was invited to meeting about the rollout in July. That sentence had a bit of ambiguity due to structure, but it's easy to understand that he meant a meeting in July concerning a rollout. I read the same article and understand what he meant. The Indian government seems to want to rollout Aadhaar in hardware.

    Not sure why you're confused why Apple would want to compete with $100 phones. Apple is sucking the profit out of the industry and while they don't have market penetration like the free and cheap phones, they are competing and winning where it counts on multiple fronts. I've been an owner of multiple iOS devices and they are a great investment that keeps working and maintains resale value. You can't get that with a cheap phone.
    cali
  • Reply 15 of 17
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,885member
    securtis said:
    Good luck with that.....way too many phone choices there and few with enough $$
    I have to agree. I just don't see the country as a huge Apple market. iPhones are just to much money for so many people there. You want to talk about percentages of people in what income bracket. I don't know personally what it is, but say India and China are the same, China's population is so much larger and so far more people in the different income brackets. I do know most of the phones sold their are pretty cheap phones. That's not a market Apple is in. There's very little money to be made selling cheap phones as you have razer thin profits. I just don't see it helping Apple much. You also have India's dumb rules if Apple Want's to open up any stores there. Let 3rd party's sell iPhones in that limited market, sure, but anything more then that?
  • Reply 16 of 17
    jkichline said:
    securtis said:
    Yep, WSJ/CNBC are a terrific source of info on Indian culture and mores. What does 'highlighting' mean in your parlance? Did they provide any empirical data on this supposed phone-snatching phenomenon, or was it a passing sentence or anecdote enough for your confirmation bias to kick in?

    What "rollout" of aadhaar in July are you taking about?

    Incidentally, "Popular smartphones ...[that].. sell for between $70-$100 by chinese/korean makers" are the norm just about every developing country. China was -- and perhaps still is -- no exception.

    And all you did was pick one tiny piece of info in an otherwise broad post of mine.

    It's quite alight if you have a negative views of India and Indians. You would be far from the first, in this forum. But you should back up your views and assertions with actual facts, and more importantly why you think you know more about this than the CEO of a $650B corporation who thinks, and says, that India is one of the biggest pieces of his company's future. The data and trends I see seem to agree with Cook, not you.
    I was just mentioning a few articles that I've read since you insinuated in a previous post that I was ignorant and should "educate myself." I didn't say that I agreed with any of their content however. You're assuming I do....

    There wasn't a rollout in july, I just said there was a meeting with govt. officials then concerning their thoughts on integration with smartphone makers.

    I don't have a negative view of india or indians. I think they are right on the money with many ideas including aadhaar. At the end of the day only 3% of their phone users currently use iOS. Which still can obviously means lots of $$$ for apple potentially. However, apple will be fighting with cheaper asian phones who will also be more willing to compromise user privacy.

    You seem quite angry
    If you did not agree with their content, why are you quoting them? I am confused.

    And, what you said was ".. the Indian government [aadhaar] specifically invited Apple to a meeting concerning its rollout this July and Apple was a no-show." What rollout was that? I am confused.

    Is there any developing country market where Apple wont be fighting cheaper Asian phones? I am confused.

    Oh, I am not angry in the least. Just utterly confused by your posts: you make an assertion, then apparently provide evidence to back up that assertion, then you say you're not necessarily agreeing with any of their content. Perhaps it's my confusion that's coming through as anger. 

    More seriously, and to the question I've been asking, what do you think you know that Tim Cook does not? Is Cook out to lunch when he says India is the next huge potential for Apple?
    I think if you're confused, it might just be you. He was quoting what he knew through an article so he had researched probably to the extent he was able. Just because you quote something doesn't mean you agree with it.

    He said Apple was invited to meeting about the rollout in July. That sentence had a bit of ambiguity due to structure, but it's easy to understand that he meant a meeting in July concerning a rollout. I read the same article and understand what he meant. The Indian government seems to want to rollout Aadhaar in hardware.

    Not sure why you're confused why Apple would want to compete with $100 phones. Apple is sucking the profit out of the industry and while they don't have market penetration like the free and cheap phones, they are competing and winning where it counts on multiple fronts. I've been an owner of multiple iOS devices and they are a great investment that keeps working and maintains resale value. You can't get that with a cheap phone.
    It's all good. Your post sounds utterly confused as well about what he meant (or did not), and it's rather a waste of time at this point address it point-by-point.
  • Reply 17 of 17
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    tyler82 said:
    Let Apple be Apple. No need to try to claim global dominance if it means lowering standards. 
    iOS is awesome. They can release the SE there and gain a few million users. 
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