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Apple 'overhauling' India operations to compete with Samsung's smartphone dominance

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iPHone 5 stock
iPHone 5 stock

The iPhone 5 may have helped Apple achieve record quarterly earnings, but that doesn't mean the company dominates every market it competes in. In India, Apple's smartphone sales reportedly lag far behind Samsung — and that's a concern, since India is poised to become the third-biggest smartphone market this year. According to The Wall Street Journal, Apple is in the process of turning that around — the company boosted its Indian employee count by 30 percent to 170 employees over the last six months, and the company is also introducing more products to the market. Apple TV is expected to be available in India for the first time soon, according to the WSJ's sources.

A low-cost iPhone might be just what Apple needs in India

This helped Apple ship more than 250,000 iPhones in the last quarter, according to research firm Canalys — but that still only gave Apple a five percent share in India, compared to Samsung's 40 percent. Apple has been trying to combat this with increased marketing and a no-interest payment plans to help customers afford the phone, which is still priced well out of the range of many Indian consumers.

The increased focus on India would mark a change of strategy for Apple compared to what the company has previously stated. Last July, Tim Cook said during Apple's quarterly earnings call that there were better opportunities for the company than focusing on India "in the immediate term," due to the cost of getting products into the market. A new interest in India would certainly add credibility to the rumors of a low-cost iPhone — a cheaper, off-contract device might be just what Apple needs to compete with Samsung.