Apple posts ’record’ March quarter in India, China slows
Photo Credit: Reuters

Smartphone maker Apple Inc. has set a new January-March quarter record for India with "strong, double-digit revenue growth," chief executive Tim Cook said during an analyst call after the company announced slightly muted earnings mainly on account of a slowdown in China, its second-biggest market.

"India is moving fast. They are moving at a speed that I have not seen in any other country in the world," Cook said.

Interestingly, Apple had posted an “all-time record revenue” in India in the October-December quarter, and Cook had remarked that the results were especially impressive in the light of the government's demonetisation move, which "created lots of economic pressure".

India stood out as a bright spot in the second quarter, too, even as global revenue fell short of expectations due to lower-than-expected iPhone sales. Apple doesn't provide revenue break-up by geography.

The Cupertino, California-based company reported a revenue of $52.9 billion, up a modest 4.5% from the same period last year. Profit stood at $11.03 billion, slightly more than the $10.5 billion it reported for the same period last year.

"We've been investing [in India] quite a bit. We have a tonne of energy going into the country on a number of fronts and it is the third-largest smartphone market in the world today behind China and the US," Cook said.

Cook added that the company was strengthening its India presence across the ecosystem, but admitted that it was “underpenetrated” here. However, he said that expansion of 4G infrastructure in the country is a "huge opportunity for Apple".

Apple sold 50.76 million iPhone units during the quarter, down from 51.19 million last year. iPad unit sales were down 13% to 8.9 million while Mac sales rose 4% to 4.2 million units. Apple's services business was the highlight, with revenue from the unit growing 18% year on year to $7.04 billion.

Revenue in the Greater China region, one of the company's mainstays in terms of geography, fell 14% with cheap smartphone players chipping away at its share.

Apple, which has been in talks with the Indian government for setting up manufacturing and opening company-owned retail stores, is about to establish a plant near Bangalore through its Taiwanese manufacturing partner Wistron Corp. In fact, in February, Karnataka information technology minister Priyank Kharge had said the company was ready to start assembling high-end iPhones in less than a month.

Apple recently opened its App Accelerator in Bangalore. The centre allows developers to avail of the required tools and infrastructure to hone their skills, and transform the design, quality and performance of their apps on the iOS platform.

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