Apple poaches Nokia veteran to head India operations

Posted:
in General Discussion edited November 2018
Apple recently hired Nokia executive Ashish Chowdhary to lead its India operation, according to multiple reports on Tuesday, a move that forwards ongoing efforts to break into the vast and largely untapped market.

Ashish Chowdhary
Ashish Chowdhary


Word of Chowdhary's hire away from Nokia was first delivered by sources speaking to IANS, and later confirmed by IndianExpress.com.

Chowdhary will take over the role of country manager for India from current head Michel Coulomb in January 2019, the company said. Leaders of Apple's India teams answer to the country manager, who is in large part responsible for stimulating regional sales in a rapidly growing market numbered at nearly 450 million users.

Coulomb, who was formerly in charge of Apple's South Asia operations, was handed the reins to India after previous lead Sanjay Kaul resigned in late 2017 amid sluggish sales.

Nokia confirmed Chowdhary's departure in a statement to The Economic Times of India, saying the executive will leave the company "after 15 successful years." Chowdhary currently serves as Nokia's Chief Business Officer, having previously served as the firms' President of Asia Middle East & Africa and Head of Global Services.

"Chowdhary will continue to lead Customer Operations and remain a member of the Nokia Group Leadership Team until the end of 2018. He will then leave Nokia to take a leadership position in another company," Nokia said.

A Delhi native, Apple's new India lead has extensive experience in the region. In 1994, Chowdhary was named Head of Marketing and Sales for Hughes Communications India before serving as vice president of enterprise business in 2000, according to his LinkedIn profile. He was appointed as Nokia's country head for India in 2003, a role that was maintained for four years.

For Apple, the changing of the guard comes as the company seeks to broaden its reach in the burgeoning Indian marketplace. While the iPhone maker has enjoyed rapid success in other developing countries, namely China, India has been a tougher nut to crack. Current estimates forecast iPhone's Indian install base to drop to nine million people in 2018, a figure eclipsed by Android's 436 million users.

Apple has been angling to break into the mainstream Indian market for years, but locals are seemingly loath to pay a premium for access to products like iPhone. To curb sticker shock, the company kickstarted production of iPhone SE in mid-2017, avoiding a steep 12.5 percent import duty and fulfilling government requirements for future sales strategies.

Beyond manufacturing, Apple is looking to open brick-and-mortar stores in India, but sourcing standards are still a hurdle. Government officials are considering exemptions that would allow Apple to sell its various products through single brand, first-party stores, but a concrete agreement has been elusive.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    Why not just say "hires"? "Poaches" has such a negative connotation, which unfairly reflects on whomever did the hiring. Just because the other cool kids on the block can't wait to jump on buzzwords, AI can resist. Please do.
    SpamSandwichmuthuk_vanalingamRayz2016slprescottAppleExposedjony0
  • Reply 2 of 23
    Uh... Is that good?
    cornchip
  • Reply 3 of 23
    backstab said:
    Uh... Is that good?
    I hope so.. 
    cornchipAppleExposed
  • Reply 4 of 23
    MicDorsey said:
    Why not just say "hires"? "Poaches" has such a negative connotation, which unfairly reflects on whomever did the hiring. Just because the other cool kids on the block can't wait to jump on buzzwords, AI can resist. Please do.
    Completely agree.
    slprescott
  • Reply 5 of 23
    Here’s my suggestion for India. Make iPhone 7 there, and make 256GB versions of the 6S Plus. Let the SE or 6 continue as entry models.
  • Reply 6 of 23
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 5,772member
    I would never employ any management-level person from Nokia.
    darren mccoy
  • Reply 7 of 23
    wonderwomanwonderwoman Posts: 9unconfirmed, member
    Apple has insane brand value in India. It's literally the price of the iPhones that is stopping it from owning the market. Apple has to wait for another 3 to 4 years to actually see any traction in the market as they will never be able to compete with OnePlus segment as even the stupid base models are twice the price of OnePlus. Unless they get into OnePlus territory with the XR, they are going to stay with the Sub 1% market share. OnePlus used to be a $300 brand. Now, consumers in India are paying $550 for OnePlus. So there is that rise that Apple is waiting for. So 4 years is my prediction before apple makes any inroads in that market.
  • Reply 8 of 23
    sflocal said:
    I would never employ any management-level person from Nokia.
    Apple must have overlooked consulting with you on this occasion.
    LatkoRayz2016muthuk_vanalingamravnorodomAppleExposed
  • Reply 9 of 23
    LatkoLatko Posts: 398member
    Better hire someone who knows how to sell Ferrari’s in Djibouti
    mike54
  • Reply 10 of 23
    Latko said:
    Better hire someone who knows how to sell Ferrari’s in Djibouti
    You do realize there are Ferraris in Pakistan,Bangladesh & India. 
  • Reply 11 of 23
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member
    Latko said:
    Better hire someone who knows how to sell Ferrari’s in Djibouti
    You do realize there are Ferraris in Pakistan,Bangladesh & India. 
    Lots of them. 

    Saw a great TV programme about the young, irresponsible and wealthy in India. 
  • Reply 12 of 23
    Rayz2016Rayz2016 Posts: 6,957member

    kimberly said:
    sflocal said:
    I would never employ any management-level person from Nokia.
    Apple must have overlooked consulting with you on this occasion.
    You say that, but I remember how many people here said that Browett was the wrong person to run the retail chain (I wasn’t one of them unfortunately) because his only experience was with the cut-price, box-shifting, add-on extras outfit, PC World. 

    Then we heard reports of Browett arguing with staff at one of the Apple retail stores. He demanded that they get everything out of the warehouse and stack it in piles in the shop where customers could see it. The staff tried to tell him that Apple stores weren’t the same as PC World. 

    A few weeks later he was fired. 

    Nokia was run by a roomful of fools. I hope this guy wasn’t one of them. 
    edited November 2018 AppleExposed
  • Reply 13 of 23
    sreesree Posts: 140member
    Apple's strategy in india is highly questionable and reeks of snobbishness. (They don't buy our phones because they can't afford us, they can only buy the budget models etc. etc.). The fact of the matter is that any company needs to respect the customer and cater to their needs to succeed.

    In the case of apple, it has never released their flagship phones at prices that are comparable to their global prices. None of their USPs (maps, siri, music, genius bar, books, apple pay etc.) work well in india. Features that indians value like dual-sim, expandable memory etc. are also not supported. So, essentially apple is refusing to even try, and as long as they do that they will keep failing.

    Improve the software services in india, manufacture the flagship models in india and get the price to match the global prices and then they might be able to capture the indian market. Otherwise the chances are low.
  • Reply 14 of 23
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,671member
    sree said:
    Apple's strategy in india is highly questionable and reeks of snobbishness. (They don't buy our phones because they can't afford us, they can only buy the budget models etc. etc.). The fact of the matter is that any company needs to respect the customer and cater to their needs to succeed.

    In the case of apple, it has never released their flagship phones at prices that are comparable to their global prices. None of their USPs (maps, siri, music, genius bar, books, apple pay etc.) work well in india. Features that indians value like dual-sim, expandable memory etc. are also not supported. So, essentially apple is refusing to even try, and as long as they do that they will keep failing.

    Improve the software services in india, manufacture the flagship models in india and get the price to match the global prices and then they might be able to capture the indian market. Otherwise the chances are low.
    Isn't dual sim available in the new phones, or some of them? Expandable memory isn't going to happen in iPhones I think.
    AppleExposed
  • Reply 15 of 23
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,671member

    sflocal said:
    I would never employ any management-level person from Nokia.
    Nokia knew a lot about India. Their collapse was technology related not necessarily management related, not regional managers anyway. 
    AppleExposed
  • Reply 16 of 23
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    Even in countries where the general public doesn't have a lot of money, corporations are still rich. Perhaps Apple could get a toehold in India by first marketing to companies. Microsoft (which most companies trust for their IT) doesn't have a phone creating a window of opportunity.
  • Reply 17 of 23
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,671member
    Latko said:
    Better hire someone who knows how to sell Ferrari’s in Djibouti
    You do realize there are Ferraris in Pakistan,Bangladesh & India. 
    Whats the addressable Western middle class in India, 300-400M? 


  • Reply 18 of 23
    asdasd said:
    Latko said:
    Better hire someone who knows how to sell Ferrari’s in Djibouti
    You do realize there are Ferraris in Pakistan,Bangladesh & India. 
    Whats the addressable Western middle class in India, 300-400M? 


    It’s growing.Thats the most important part. 
  • Reply 19 of 23
    asdasdasdasd Posts: 5,671member
    asdasd said:
    Latko said:
    Better hire someone who knows how to sell Ferrari’s in Djibouti
    You do realize there are Ferraris in Pakistan,Bangladesh & India. 
    Whats the addressable Western middle class in India, 300-400M? 


    It’s growing.Thats the most important part. 
    Thats also important, but so is the absolute numbers. 300M is what I see. Apple should be able to get. foot hold there.
  • Reply 20 of 23
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,805unconfirmed, member
    Apple has insane brand value in India. 
    Do you have any proof/experience on this??

    Also I disagree than the newest iPhones shouldn't be available in India for common sense reasons.
    1. What are the rich supposed to buy? ASP?
    2. This will hurt Apple's brand as crappy knockoffs bring new iPhone features to market while Apples products are 3 years behind.
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