Apple crosses $1 billion sales mark in India for the first time

Apple crossed the $1 billion sales mark in its India operations for the first time in the fiscal year that ended in March, according to results filed with the Registrar of Companies (RoC) on Wednesday.

According to a Brand Equity report, Apple posted a 44 percent increase in sales to Rs 6,472.89 crore from Rs 4500.35 crore and net profit doubled to Rs 242.85 crore from Rs 119.48 crore as the company widened its retail network and stepped up marketing efforts, including buyback schemes, installment programs and discounts.

The rupee traded at around 62-63 against the dollar in FY15. Apple has more than doubled sales in India in the last two years, having posted revenue of Rs 3,057.79 crore in FY13. Brand Equity says analysts attributed this to the surge in demand for iPhones with sales growing upwards of 35 percent quarter-on-quarter in the last two years. As per the RoC filing, the parent didn't take any dividend from India operations in FY15.

Getting a foothold in India has been a challenge for Apple. The company has opened its retail stores in a number of countries around the world, but not in India. The country has restrictive real estate investment laws for foreign companies, and although Apple CEO Tim Cook recently discussed expansion into the subcontinent with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the company still has no official retail presence. That's about to change, as India-based consumer electronics retailer Cromā and Apple are partnering to bring six "store-within-a-store" locations into the country.

The mini-stores are expected to open by November 11, will be between 400 and 500 square feet in size, and will give both Apple and Cromā a chance to test the waters in a new and huge market. The timing is perfect, as the store openings coincide with the Hindu festival of Diwali.

And, as noted by AppleInsider, the iPhone now has a 9 percent share of the Indian cellphone market, but is still eclipsed by Samsung and Micromax, which offer cheaper alternatives.