NEW DELHI :
India, the world’s second-largest smartphone market, has returned to the spotlight for premium phone maker Apple Inc. The region has bounced back to growth in the fiscal third quarter ended 29 June even as the company battled a tough sales climate and sold fewer iPhones globally compared with the previous year.
In an earnings call with analysts late on Tuesday, Apple chief executive Tim Cook expressed happiness about the company’s performance in India, where it has ambitions to step up manufacturing capacity.
“In emerging markets, we returned to growth in mainland China, grew strong double digits in India and in Brazil, and we set new Q3 records in Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines," Cook said.
India is a highly competitive smartphone market with dozens of brands clamouring for market share in a country of more than 500 million internet users. Chinese companies such as Xiaomi, OPPO, Vivo and South Korea’s Samsung have continued their dominance in this market.
Apple is a key player in the premium smartphone segment.
“On the market side, we have emerging markets where we have low penetration and during the quarter tactically, the emerging markets had a bit of a rebound. In fact, on a constant currency basis, we actually grew slightly in emerging markets. We still declined on a reported basis. India bounced back during the quarter, we returned to growth there. We’re very happy with that," Cook said.
Apple’s improved performance in India is significant given the company’s ambition to manufacture top-end models via its supplier Foxconn Technology in the country.
Overall, Apple posted quarterly revenue of $53.8 billion, an increase of 1% from the year earlier, and quarterly earnings per diluted share of $2.18, down 7%. International sales comprised 59% of the quarterly revenue.
“This was our biggest June quarter ever — driven by all-time record revenue from services, accelerating growth from wearables, strong performance from iPad and Mac and significant improvement in iPhone trends," said Cook.
“These results are promising across all our geographic segments, and we’re confident about what’s ahead. The balance of calendar 2019 will be an exciting period, with major launches on all of our platforms, new services and several new products."
“For iPhone, we generated $26 billion in revenue. While this is down 12% from last year’s June quarter, it is a significant improvement to the 17% year-over-year decline in Q2," Cook said.
Apple is also increasingly focussing on services and content to grow revenue.
In May, it launched Apple TV app in over 100 countries, for viewers to watch TV in a single app across iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, and select smart TV’s. The company’s revenue excluding iPhone increased 17% from last year with growth across all categories, with services generating an all-time record revenue of $11.5 billion, Cook said.
Meanwhile, CEO Tim Cook confirmed on the company’s third-quarter earnings call that the upcoming Apple Card is launching in August.
Bloomberg contributed to this story.