Apple aggressively pushing iPhones in India
The new monthly payment plan in India goes a long way to expanding the potential market, said Chakrawarti.
"The Apple campaign is not meant for really the regular top-end customer, it is meant to upgrade the 10,000-12,000 handset guy to 45,000 rupees," he said.
Apple's main focus for expansion in Asia has been Greater China, including Taiwan and Hong Kong, where revenue grew 60 percent last quarter to $7.3 billion.
Asked last year why Apple had not been as successful in India, Chief Executive Tim Cook said its business in India was growing but the group remained more focused on other markets.
"I love India, but I believe that Apple has some higher potential in the intermediate term in some other countries," Cook said. "The multi-layer distribution there really adds to the cost of getting products to market," he said at the time.
Apple, which has partly addressed that by adding distributors, did not respond to an email seeking comment.
Ingram Micro Inc, one of its new distributors, also declined comment. Executives at Redington (India) Ltd, the other distributor, could not immediately be reached.
BlackBerry, which has seen its global market share shrivel to 3.4 percent from 20 percent over the past three years, is making what is seen as a last-ditch effort to save itself with the BB10 series.
The high-end BlackBerry Z10 was launched in India on Monday at 43,490 rupees ($800), close to the 45,500 rupees price tag for an iPhone 5 with 16 gigabytes of memory. Samsung's Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2, Nokia's Lumia 920 and two HTC Corp models are the main iPhone rivals.
BlackBerry will target corporate users and consumers in India for the Z10, said Sunil Dutt, India managing director, adding that it will tie-up with banks for instalment plans.
Until last year, BlackBerry was the No. 3 smartphone brand in India with market share of more than 10 percent, thanks to a push into the consumer segment with lower-priced phones. Last quarter its share fell to about 5 percent, putting it in fifth place, according to Canalys. Apple was sixth.
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