A job opening that showed up this week on LinkedIn hints that Apple is seriously looking to expand its footprint in India, a largely untapped market for the iPhone maker, by making its products more accessible. The posting for Business Development Manager – Affordability, a position-based in Gurgaon, is for a person who will work on “affordability solution”. A similar job listing was spotted last year for the same profile on the employment site LinkedIn.
“This is a critical role that will drive the sales potential all our products in India by developing creative Affordability solutions by working with Financial Institutions, Insurance Companies, Associations, Credit Bureaus and Fintechs, Carriers, Distributors, and Authorised Resellers,” the job description on the site spells out. This means there could be serious efforts to make the iPhones more accessible for the Indian public.
The listing says the executive needs to collaborate with all key “internal and external partners” and also support all aspects of “business development to deliver standard methodologies and execution”. This also throws more light on the recent changes being made at Apple India to trigger a local strategy to achieve long-term goals.
Apple may have become the world’s first trillion dollar company, but it is yet to dominate the Indian smartphone market, where its overall market share is low. Even in the premium segment, companies like OnePlus have started offering consumers a choice where only an Apple and Samsung existed earlier. The government’s decision to raise customs duties on imported smartphones and lack of company-owned stores are still hurdles in Apple’s growth here.
Apple’s pricing model, which looks at many factors including possible currency fluctuations has made its products premium in India. For instance, its top-end 256GB iPhone X variant costs Rs 108,930 ($1,513) in India, much more than the US price of $1,149 (Rs 82,670). Even an iPhone 8 starts at Rs 67,490 and goes up to Rs 81,590 for the top-end model. The fact that in a large market like India, these prices restrict Apple’s reach to just the creamy layer has been affected its growth prospects. As a result, a lot of the traction has been on, more affordable, older iPhone models.
However, the fact that Apple is looking for an “affordability” manager is a good sign and signals an intent to address the pricing issue in the country. From the note, we can expect more offers from Apple and financial companies that softens the impact of owning an iPhone. Recently, Bloomberg had also reported that Apple was planning to shift its gears in India with a new go-to-market strategy.
Over the past few months, Apple been making several changes to its management team in India. Last year, Michel Coulomb, a key veteran Apple executive was brought in from Singapore to oversee operations in India. Coulomb replaced Sanjay Kaul as the new head of sales for its India business. In June, Apple appointed Poonam Kaul as Director Marketing after a stint at PepsiCo India, where she had been serving as the company’s Vice-President, Communications and CSR. Before that Kaul was heading the communications team at Nokia India.