Apple's iPhone sales in India grew by more than 50 percent in the company's fiscal year, chief executive Tim Cook said on Tuesday as the technology giant touted the potential of new growth markets. However, cracking the world's largest democracy won't be easy, analysts said.
The U.S. firm reported its first annual revenue decline since 2001 on Tuesday, as iPhone sales fell for the third straight quarter.
Apple has been looking to new countries such as China to drive growth but revenues in the world's second-largest economy fell 30 percent year-on-year in the fiscal fourth quarter, according to the company's results. Cook, nonetheless, remained bullish on China but tough competition from local players like Huawei, combined with regulatory hurdles, have held back the company's progress.
So Cook has turned to India, noting that half of Indians are aged under 25 with the population expected to boom further.
"Our iPhone sales in India were up over 50 percent in fiscal 2016 compared to the prior year, and we believe we're just beginning to scratch the surface of this large and growing market opportunity," Cook said on an investor call after earnings were released.
"The truth is there's going to be a lot of people there and a lot of people in the middle class that will really want a smartphone, and I think we can compete well for some percentage of those. And given our starting point, even though we've been growing a lot, there's a lot of headroom there in our mind. So, we're working very hard to realize that opportunity," he added in response to an analyst question.