Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is gearing up to boost its sales of iPhone and iPads in India by targeting smaller cities and towns, according to reports from the Economic Times. Apple’s Country Head, Maneesh Dhir, is chalking out plans to drive sales of tablets and phones in smaller Indian cities.Apple

Apple plans 100 stores in smaller cities

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) included many independent distributors last year to push the sales of the iPhone, since many carrier subsidies presented limited adoption in India. Further, the iPhone maker has started many schemes and discount options in the country to boost sales.

Apple is now targeting smaller cities and towns in India to sell its iPhones, iPads and iPods as the population in smaller cities is getting prosperous, and youth there are inclining towards Apple devices.

In smaller cities, the Cupertino-based firm is looking forward to open 100 exclusive independent stores under the franchisee model this fiscal year, according to Apple India.

Dhir joined Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) three years back and since then has been leading efforts to increase the number of Apple stores in the country, and to bring down the time span between the unveiling of new devices overseas and India. Dhir has increased the number of employees in India from just 3 to 150.

Indian market too important to ignore

Data from research firm Canalys in August shows that India ranked third in worldwide smartphone shipments for the second quarter of 2013, striking a growth rate of 129 percent to reach 9.0 million. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is making efforts to dominate China, but it just can’t ignore India.

During the third quarter earnings call, CEO Tim Cook said that iPhone sales in India surged 400 percent year on year, and iPad recorded double digit unit growth in the country during the same quarter.

Local players giving tough fight

Domestic low-cost manufacturers in India pose a relevant threat to Apple’s plans in India. According to Canalys data, in August, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:005930) was the only International Company in India which could succeed and perform better than locals.

Domestic smartphone manufacturers have performed well in the price conscious Indian market. Micromax is the most sought after local mobile phone maker that has given stiff competition to Samsung, which is the only foreign player to enjoy a dominating position in India. Another local mobile handset maker that grew popular among the masses is Karbonn, which was ranked third in India during the second quarter of fiscal 2013, according to research firm IDC, acquiring 13 percent of the market share.