Apple aims to double retail footprint, iPhone sales in India with help of new distribution deals

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Apple has signed a deal with a fifth Indian smartphone distributor, Optiemus Group, as part of a campaign to more than double retail reach and hence double iPhone sales in each of the next three years, a report said on Monday.

Optiemus will become Apple's fifth iPhone distributor in India, and plans are already underway for more, three industry executives told the Times of India. The four existing distributors include Redington, Ingram Micro, Rashi Peripherals, and Brightstar.

Apple has reportedly given Optiemus the task of getting the iPhone into more neighborhood cellphone stores, a staple of India.

The Times said that Apple is aiming for 2 million iPhones in India during the 2015 fiscal year, which ends in September. The company sold 1 million in all of the prior year, but is noted to have already hit the 1 million mark for 2015 by April 30.

In terms of volume the iPhone has a marginal presence in India, with a 2 percent share, versus chief rival Samsung's 28 percent. During the April quarter Samsung also overtook Apple as the leader in the market of phones costing over 30,000 rupees ($468).

The iPhone's weak performance in India has been blamed partly on the high cost of the device but also on its rare presence in small shops. In other countries, Apple often prefers to sell the iPhone in national chains or its own stores.