Does Apple Have a Winning Plan Abroad?

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) may have figured out its move for competing with Samsung (SSNLF.PK) and other rivals in foreign countries. But it may never be enough to actually come out on top.

Worldwide, Apple has had trouble keeping up with its major Korean competitor. While the iPhone might have been the first smartphone on the scene, it has never been the most affordable, and in a lot of places, that has been a problem. Developing nations have been particular trouble for Apple.

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With new iPhones priced along premium lines — and even older iPhones priced mid-way up the scale — countries like the U.S., the U.K., or Japan still have plenty of people who can purchase iPhones. Given that fact, it’s no wonder Apple has been enjoying stronger performance in such countries, even managing to keep a lengthy lead on Samsung in the U.S.

However, in countries like China and India, there are massive populations, and many people do not have the kind of money to spend on an iPhone. Samsung, on the other hand, makes a wide variety of devices that hit numerous price points. As a result, it enjoys a 38.8 percent share of the market.

The latest sales scheme from Apple might work to get Apple more presence, though, as it makes it significantly easier for consumers to make the purchase. Apple is offering an installment plan for purchasing any of the latest three iPhone models in India, and it’s also offering trade-in and rebate programs.

If a student customer trades in an old smartphone, that customer can get 7,777 rupees — or about $144 — toward the new phone. Non-students can get 7,000 rupees from the trade-in. Additionally, customers who purchase using an American Express card from an Indian bank can get up to 6,000 rupees refunded.

The new program might help kick up Apple’s sales in the country. It has already conducted a similar program in China and enjoyed some success. Research firm Canalys estimates there were 2.5 million iPhones in India in 2012, but that the number could increase significantly in 2013 because of the installment program.

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Compared to Samsung, Apple still had a weak share of the market, with only 15.6 percent. Though Apple might start selling more with its new plans, Samsung might also be able to sell more devices, as it began a cash-back scheme as well.

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