* Apple Acts to Crack India Market for iPhone

WSJ: “Apple Inc.  is overhauling its iPhone operations in the crucial Indian market, attempting to chip away at Samsung Electronics Co.’s  dominance by adjusting to the country’s retailing rules and convoluted distribution process.

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But the Cupertino, Calif., company still has a long way to go.

That’s no small matter as Apple’s growth slows in the U.S. and other mature markets. India is poised to become the world’s third-largest smartphone market this year, behind China and the U.S., according to Strategy Analytics.

Apple doesn’t have any of its own retail outlets in India and relies on distributors and resellers, such as this Croma store in Mumbai.

Apple is sidestepping wireless carriers to seize greater control over marketing in India and offering no-interest loans to lure lower-income consumers. The company has also boosted staff in India by 30% to 170 employees in the past six months. And it is ramping up the introduction of other products, with the Apple TV video-streaming gadget expected to reach stores in coming weeks, people familiar with the matter say.

The result is that Apple shipped more than 252,000 iPhones to India in the quarter through December, more than triple the number in the previous three months, according to research firm Canalys.

Yet Apple accounts for just 5% smartphone shipments to India, compared with 40% for market leader Samsung. The South Korean company surged ahead by making India a high-priority market earlier than Apple did and offering a range of phones based on Google Inc.’s  Android software that start at just over $100. An older generation iPhone sells for around $500 while the latest model starts at nearly $850.”

via Apple Acts to Crack India Market for iPhone – WSJ.com.

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