Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook says India’s move to replace its largest-denomination bank notes with newly designed ones has presented a challenge in India, but the tech giant is still bullish on sales growth in the South Asian nation.
Speaking on a call with analysts Tuesday after Apple announced last quarter results, Mr. Cook said “despite the demonetization move in India that created lots of economic pressure there last quarter…we had all-time record revenue results.”
The impact of the move “has not worked its way through yet,” he said, but “it’s still definitely having some overhang.” Still, “longer term it’s a great move,” he said of the government’s decision to replace the notes.
He did not elaborate on sales figures in India, as he has done on previous calls.
Apple is seeking to ramp up revenues in India as sales stagnate in China, long an engine of growth. India should soon overtake the U.S. as the world’s second-largest smartphone market after China. Smartphone shipments in India grew 18% last year, compared with just 3% globally, according to Counterpoint Research.
Mr. Cook confirmed Apple is “in discussions” to open retail stores in the country, and said Apple intends to “invest significantly in the country and believe it’s a great place to be.”
The Wall Street Journal last week reported Apple is nearing a deal to manufacture its products in India, according to senior government officials.
That could allow the Cupertino, Calif. company to open its own stores in the county of more than 1.2 billion, helping boost its brand in a market where it commands only a sliver of sales, mostly because its devices are so costly.
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