Why iPhone X will fail miserably in one important market

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iPhone X
The X stands for X-tremely X-pensive.
Photo: Apple

The iPhone X may be pricey in the U.S., but spare a thought for the folks in India! As far as local pricing goes, the 64 GB version will retail for Rs 89,000 ($1,391) when it goes on sale on November 3. The top-end 256 GB model, meanwhile, will set customers back a massive Rs 102,000 ($1,594). That’s not great for a market Apple is keen to grow.

As a local news report points out, the iPhone X is so expensive in India that customers can actually save money by buying a return flight to Hong Kong to pick it up there.

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This is based on the fact that the top-line iPhone X is Rs 102,000 ($1,594) in India, compared to HK $9,888 ($1265.64). A flight to Hong Kong from India will costs around Rs 20,000 ($312) — or less if you book it from somewhere like Kolkata or Bangalore. The resulting figure comes in at $1,577, saving you a little under $20 — with a free trip thrown in.

As the report notes:

“We know the whole thing sounds like a joke. And in a way it is. No one is going to go specifically to Hong Kong from India to buy the iPhone. Also, it works best with the 256GB variant. But it does show the ridiculousness of the iPhone prices. and particularly the iPhone X prices, in India. Is it because Apple can’t price the iPhone any cheaper? Is it because Apple wants big profit margins? Is it because of Indian government taxes? Is it because Apple wants to keep the iPhone prices high so that it continues to a status symbol in India? We don’t know. Only Apple can answer these questions, if it wishes to answer them.”

Hurting developing markets

While it’s no secret that iPhone prices fluctuate around the world (pity customers in Brazil), the outrage at the price in India could be interesting to follow. India is a market that Apple has been particularly keen to grow. With half a billion smartphones predicted to sell in the country by 2020, Apple wants to expand its presence in the country. In addition to opening an app accelerator in India, as well as pushing for the right to open a flagship Apple store in the country, Apple has also started producing iPhones in the country.

Back in 2015, Apple slashed the prices of iPhones in India in an attempt to get them into more people’s hands. In this case, however, it seems the company is ploughing ahead with its high pricing — even if it negatively impacts sales in developing markets like India and China, where Apple has stated it wants to grow.

Should the rumors about a second-gen iPhone SE, targeted specifically at the developing markets, come to fruition, maybe we’ll see the permanent division of the iPhone into super-premium and low-cost versions.

Do you think this would be a good move for Apple? Leave your comments at the bottom of this article.

How much the iPhone X costs in each country

As per Google’s currency calculator and CNN Money:

Australia: $1,266
Canada: $1,082
China: $1,285
France: $1,387
Germany: $1,375
Hong Kong: $1,099
India: $1,391
Ireland: $1,410
Italy: $1,423
Japan: $1,024
Mexico: $1,325
New Zealand: $1,311
Russia: $1,387
Singapore: $1,224
United Kingdom: $1,327