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Apple cracks India's smartphone market

From Sumnima Udas, CNN
March 13, 2013 -- Updated 0625 GMT (1425 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Apple's iPhone has become India's second largest smartphone supplier
  • Its success has been attributed to better distribution and promotion
  • Samsung remains India's number one brand in terms of revenue

New Delhi (CNN) -- After a slow start, Apple's iPhone has jumped to India's second largest smartphone supplier by pushing phones to Mom-and-Pop shops in the world's fastest growing smartphone market.

Although Apple is still catching up to other smartphone makers like Samsung, analysts say Apple is finally taking India seriously.

"In Q4, Apple has turned out to be the number two player in India. And this means that they have done a significant shift in their positioning," said Venu Reddy, research director at IDC, the technology market research firm.

"Suddenly, everyone was throwing their Blackberries, Samsungs, Nokias and everyone was kind of changing to an i-Phone," said customer Akanshya Balram.

Samsung remains India's strongest smartphone brand, with 38.8% of market share in terms of revenue, followed by Apple with 15.6%, Sony (9.4%) and Nokia (7.3%), according to IDC>

Apple's success has been attributed to its ability to adapt to India's smartphone distribution market, where most electronics are sold through small, family-owned shops. Mobile phones in India are not subsidized by telecom operators, unlike other parts of the world.

"The reality of the Indian market in general is that the most of the electronics are bought at individual shops, maybe because of the nature of the buying behavior of the Indian market itself," said Gurvinder Singh, from Global Gadgets, an Apple dealer.

Prior to Apple's change in strategy an i-Phone in India cost nearly 30% more than in the U.S., and customers has to wait as long as a year for delivery.

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