Apple overtakes Samsung, emerges as largest smartphone exporter from India

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NEW DELHI: In a big boost for the Modi government’s ‘Make-in-India’ initiative, Apple has overtaken Samsung to emerge as the largest smartphone exporter from India.
According to a report in the Economic Times, Apple shipped 49% of the country’s total 12 million shipments in the June quarter compared to its Korean rival’s 45%.
Apple’s share of exports soared from just 9% of the roughly 8 million smartphones shipped in Q2 2022, to almost half the total smartphone exports in Q2 2023, the ET report said. Meanwhile, exports from other Android brands such as Xiaomi, Motorola, Vivo, and Transsion witnessed a decrease, sliding from 10% in the first quarter of 2023 to 6% in the second quarter of 2023, the report said.
Although India’s contribution to iPhone production is relatively modest, the increasing exports present a promising development in line with PM Modi‘s aspirations to position the country as a viable alternative to China as a global manufacturing hub. Apple, which had historically relied heavily on China for iPhone manufacturing, is actively exploring alternative options due to escalating tensions between the Xi Jinping-led administration and the US government.
Additionally, China’s imposition of lockdowns that have disrupted economic operations too prompted Apple to diversify its manufacturing base.
According to the ET report, Apple’s impressive performance in India since commencing manufacturing activities in 2017 can be attributed to the substantial increase in production carried out by three of its contract manufacturers: Foxconn, Wistron, and Pegatron. This production surge began in the latter half of 2022, coinciding with the manufacturing of iPhone models up to the iPhone 14. This expansion aims to meet the rising demand in the Indian market and support export operations. It’s noteworthy that all three manufacturers are participants in the Indian government’s production-linked incentive scheme for smartphone manufacturing, the ET report said.
Apple, the world’s most valuable company, embarked on the assembly of its latest iPhone models in India just last year.
Apart from boosting its exports from India, Apple is also set to increase its foothold in the local smartphone market. According to a Reuters report, Apple is anticipated to capture a larger portion of India’s smartphone market, particularly with the upscale iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max models gaining a more substantial share of its shipments.
According to data provided exclusively to Reuters by market research firm Counterpoint, the company is expected to secure 7% of the total smartphone sales in India between July and December. This marks an increase from the 5% it held in the first half of 2023.
Apple has been actively positioning India as a pivotal driver of its future growth, a strategic move aimed at countering the declining sales of its flagship device.
Notably, Apple already dominates the segment for smartphones priced over $800 in India, holding a commanding 67% share in the first half, as reported by IDC data. Samsung accounted for 31% of this segment.
(With inputs from agencies)

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