Apple CEO Tim Cook to visit India this week

Apple CEO Tim Cook and PM Narendra ModiApple chief executive officer Tim Cook is expected to visit India this week and meet prime minister Narendra Modi, Reuters reports.

Apple seeks new growth markets such as India after posting its first-ever decline in iPhone sales. Apple iPhones achieved more than 50 percent growth in India in its latest quarter.

Tim Cook, who is visiting China after announcing a $1 billion investment in Chinese ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing, will fly to India on Tuesday in his first official visit to the country as the head of the U.S. technology company.

Apple is looking to set up its first retail outlet in India, where it has about a 2 percent market share in the smartphone space. Its sales there surged 56 percent in the first three months of this year, driven mainly by cheaper older-generation devices such as the iPhone 5S.

Tim Cook earlier said that the country’s 4G networks can boost the sale of Apple iPhones in India. Telecom network operators such as Bharti Airtel, Idea Cellular, Vodafone and Reliance Jio Infocomm are spending on 4G networks. But the adoption of 4G services is at a nascent stage.

Recently, Apple faced a major set back in India when the country’s government said no to import of used iPhones to the second largest telecom market. Samsung is the smartphone market leader in India. Home grown phone makers such as Intex Technologies, Micromax and Lava International are also trying to gain more share in India.

Though in eighth place, Apple increased smartphone shipments by 56 percent to make it the second fastest-growing vendor in the top 10.

“Apple is outperforming the overall market in India, and still has great growth potential. Apple is seriously challenging Samsung’s dominance of the premium segment,” said Canalys Mobility Analyst Wilmer Ang.

For devices priced over $300 (Rs 20,000), Samsung’s market share fell from 66 percent in Q1 2015 to 41 percent in Q1 2016, while Apple grew its market share from 11 percent to 29 percent.

Successive price cuts to the iPhone 5s made it the most popular Apple device on the market, despite its smaller screen and outdated hardware.

The image is for illustrative purposes and taken during Modi’s visit to US