Apple India Head Quits With Immediate Effect Amid Slow Growth

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Apple India head Sanjay Kaul will leave the company with immediate effect. The exit of Kaul comes amid Apple witnessing its slowest growth rate in the country in more than five years for the fiscal  year ended March 2017, says a report from Economic Times.

Apple India – having a rough time

The exit of Kaul comes as a surprise as recently the U.S. company acknowledged strong growth in the country. During the fourth-quarter earnings call, CEO Tim Cook stated that revenue in India had increased two-fold year over year.

“We were especially happy to return to growth in Greater China, where revenue was up 12 per cent from a year ago, and with our momentum in India, where revenue doubled year over year,” Cook had said.

However, it is also a fact that Apple India is struggling to uphold its position against rivals such as Xiaomi, Samsung, Oppo or Vivo which have massive manufacturing facilities in India.

Michel Coulomb, who has been the managing director for South Asia operations at Apple, will replace Kaul. According to Economic Times, the changes were announced by Apple’s head of emerging markets Hugues Asseman during Apple India’s annual sales conference in Goa.

Coulomb has been with Apple for over 14 years, and is one of the important executives to CEO Tim Cook. Coulomb had headed operations in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey before coming to Singapore last year as the chief of South Asia, according to his LinkedIn profile.

The development comes on the heels of Apple’s decision to increase the average price of iPhone models by about 3.5%, following the government’s decision to increase the basic customs duty on mobile phones imported into India to 15% from 10%. According to the analysts, Apple would need to increase manufacturing of smartphones within the country if it wants to compensate for the increase in the price.

Apple has always exhibited the desire to work closely with the Indian government and set up manufacturing facilities in the country, but the results have been mixed so far. Earlier, the company requested the officials to postpone the import taxes so that it can expand its manufacturing facilities in India. However, the Indian government did not agree resulting in an increase of the tax rate.

No “Super Cycle’” for iPhone X

Separately, Cowen analyst Karl Ackerman believes that the iPhone X is not selling as well as was expected, according to Bloomberg. The analyst suggests that the meteoric rise in the price of the smartphone is to be blamed for the slower pace of sales.

“Some investors may conclude this relates to better sales momentum for the X,” wrote Ackerman, “but we are increasingly concerned that demand has been below initial expectations as users appear to have gravitated toward the previous iPhone models.”

Further, the analyst stated the sales number is decent so far, but do not expect any “Super Cycle.” Ackerman believes that the Cupertino, California-based company will sell around 79 million iPhones through December, a slight increase over the 78 million units shipped in the previous year. For the second fiscal quarter from January to March, Apple is expected to ship 56 million iPhones against the 51.2 million units last year.

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