Apple's iPhone, an Indian Flop, Prepares for China
The failure of Apple's iPhone to make a dent in India's lucrative telecom market may hold lessons for its upcoming push in China
Take the most talked-about phone in recent history and launch it in one of the fastest growing cell-phone markets in the world, and you'd expect fireworks. But in India, where carriers Vodafone (VOD) and Bharti Airtel (BRTI.BO) have been offering Apple's (AAPL) iPhone since last August, unsold phones are stacking up at shops around the country. Apple won't break down sales figures by country, but a senior Airtel executive confirms analyst estimates that total official iPhone sales here have yet to touch 20,000 handsets. Vodafone, which has a lower-key advertising campaign, has sold even fewer, the analysts estimate. Even including sales on the black market, where the phone sells for half the $700 sticker price, the total only increases by an additional 15,000, according to an Indian customs official. That's puny, especially since Indian cell-phone providers have added nearly 20 million new customers since the iPhone's launch last year.
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