The new year means more headlines for prominent smartphone maker, Apple.
According to a report from Nikkei Asian Review the company is trimming iPhone production for the first quarter due to slower-than-expected sales of the iPhone 7.
Nikkei indicated Apple was planning to curb production by around 10 percent, but said Japanese component producers are planning to compensate with orders from Chinese smartphone makers and growing demand for connected car technology.
The cut is the latest from Apple, which also slashed its iPhone 7 production by 20 percent in the September quarter, Nikkei noted.
But even as Apple is slowing production, a separate report from Reuters indicated Apple component partner Wistron Corp. is seeking approval from Indian officials to expand its plant in Bengaluru.
It’s no secret that Apple has an interest in securing a firm footing in India. Back in May, Apple CEO Tim Cook met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the same month Apple announced plans to open an app development center in Bangalore and a Maps development office in Hyderabad.
Apple, which previously had its request to sell refurbished devices in the country shot down, finally scored a win in June when India’s government relaxed requirements that mandated at least 30 percent of components would have to be sourced locally before a foreign company could open its doors in India. And it seems Apple has been pushing to do just that.
The Wall Street Journal last month reported Apple sent a letter to the Indian government in November outlining its plans to manufacture Apple products in the country and asked after potential financial incentives to do so. Reuters’ sources indicated Wistron asked to fast-track its expansion application, which could mean Apple is making headway.
The India market Apple is looking to tap is growing at a staggering pace, even in the face of an overall smartphone slowdown.
According to November data from International Data Corporation (IDC), the smartphone market in India surpassed the 30 million unit shipments milestone for the first time ever in the third calendar quarter, posting a total of 32.2 million units for 11 percent growth year over year and 17.5 percent growth sequentially. And previous forecasts from Gartner have indicated sales growth for smartphones in India will exhibit double-digit growth over the next two years.
But right now the India market is a fairly local one – and Apple’s place in the competition is a notably minor one.
In the third quarter, IDC said Samsung led the mobile market (including both smartphones and feature phones) share with 23.2 percent, and was trailed by domestic companies Lava and Intex with 9.8 percent, Micromax with 8.9 percent, and Karbonn with 5.4 percent. A combination of “other” manufacturers made up the remaining 42.8 percent of the market share, IDC noted.
For comparison, Kantar Worldpanel reported iOS accounts for just over 17 percent of the smartphone operating system market share in neighboring China.