Tim Cook, chief executive office of Apple Inc., speaks during an event. (Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg)

Tim Cook Reiterates Apple’s India Retail Plan After ‘Record First Half’

Apple Inc Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook reiterated his intent to launch retail stores in India even as the local sourcing requirement has so far kept the maker of iPhones from launching its outlets in the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market.

“Our objective over time is to go in there [India] with all of our different initiatives from retail and everything else,” Cook said at an earnings call. He said the company’s revenue rose 20 percent in the emerging markets in the second quarter ended March and set a “new first half record” for India.

Apple is a small player in India, the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market, as its devices are priced much higher than mobile phones of rivals that manufacture in India. The Cupertino, California-based company is looking to push into newer markets as global smartphone sales are plateauing.

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The company last year began assembling its budget SE models in Bengaluru through partner Wistron Corp., but in limited quantities to meet the local sourcing rules and is seeking more government incentives to set up full-fledged operations. It’s also been lobbying to set up its own stores, where foreign retailers are required to source 30 percent of their products locally to set up single-brand chains.

Acknowledging the “extremely low market share” in India, Cook said it’s working with carriers that are investing in creating LTE networks. “There are obviously huge opportunities there for us and we have an extremely low share in that market overall and so we’re putting a lot of energy there.”

Cook said India is an attractive new market for iPhones, similar to China several years ago. “It’s clear that many people would be moving towards middle class over time like we have seen in other countries.”

Apple’s global revenue rose 16 percent to $61.1 billion in the second quarter of financial year 2017-18. That was the fastest growth in more than two years, with net income of $13.8 billion.