India has been rated as one of the fastest-growing markets in the world economy. Its leadership in market growth means that India has a big potential for overseas corporations that aim to earn revenues by satisfying the consumption demand of the developing middle class in India. While Apple’s presence was quite limited in India in the past, current opportunities in the sphere of consumer electronics that stem from the desire of the middle-class and affluent Indians to purchase latest technology, offer successful expansion within India’s emerging market based on the present conditions. The growth of India’s GDP, in particular fast rates of GDP growth in India’s rural areas, and improvement of living conditions of both rural and urban populations mean extended opportunities to Apple, Inc., the company which specializes in design, development, and sales of iPod music players, iPad tablet computers, and unique iPhone smartphones.
For Apple, Inc. India is a highly attractive market due to its big population, rapid growth of economy, and cheap workforce. Religion remains the key determinant of social, economic, and political position of Indians due to the caste system. Thus, it is the principal determinant of the living conditions, income, education, and job, etc, in the greatest part of India, although discrimination on the ground of caste system is now illegal. In recent years, however, attempts have been made to empower the least well-off members of the Indian society with opportunities to get education and better jobs. To further expand into the Indian market, Apple, Inc. has to consider the local needs and purchasing capability of India’s population which largely depend on their living conditions and on their place within the religious system.
Religion has played a significant part in India’s cultural, social, and political life. The country features the abundance of religions, of which Hinduism has the greatest number of followers (80.5 % of population). Other major religions that are practised in India include Islam (more than 13%), Christianity (more than 2%), Sikhism (around 2%) and Buddhism (0.8%), based on the data of the 2001 Census (Census of India, 2001).
With near 1 billion of followers, Hinduism remains the principal religion, which has long determined the specifics of the social, political, and economic position of Indians (Indian Religions Overview, n.d.). In particular, the Indian society is divided into numerous casts, as fixed in Hindu religious ideology. The Hindu ideology provides an explanation of how the four Varnas (broad ranks of the society) got founded. As recorded in Rig Veda, the primal man known by the name Purush ruined his body in order to create humans. Different Varnas that derived from Purush were (in the order of importance): the Brahmins, the Kshatriya, the Vaishyas, and the Shudras. The hierarchy of Varna was determined by the descending order of their creation as Purush used his organs from the highest to the lowest. Specifically, the Brahmins were made of his head, the Kshatriyas from his hands, the Vaishyas from the primal man’s thighs, and the Shudras – from his feet. People of each Varna are believed to have inherited certain qualities, which determine their occupation and social place.
The highest positive qualities are found in the Brahmins (goodness, intelligence, wisdom, etc) and in the Kshatriyas and Vaishyas (valour, passion, pride, etc). The Shudras inherited lack of creativity, stupidity, and other bad qualities. Respectively, the Brahmins and the Kshatriyas occupy the highest social positions (priests, scholars; kings, military, and governors), the Vaishyas – the middle one (merchants, cattle herders, artisans, etc), and the Shudras – the lowest (hard laborers). It needs to be said that these are only the basic categories. Within the Indian society, the caste system has been highly elaborated so that within each Varna, many more subdivisions are found. Today, the caste system defines who is engaged in political processes in India and determines the economic position of Indian population, in particular through the reservation system.
Based on its caste system and social specifics, living conditions of the Indian population are largely diverse. While the biggest part of the population is impoverished, there is a strong tendency of the urban class growth. The Asian Development Bank report projects that the middle class population in India will constitute 70% of the country’s overall population in 15 years (Deloitte, 2012). Other reports indicate the presence of a well-educated and large urban middle class that is rapidly growing. Importantly for Apple, Inc., India has made impressive strides in the field of Information Technology and offers a lot of skilled workforce. Despite the fact that today the income of an average Indian is only 10 % of what an average Australian earns, the incomes are growing (Country Profile: Republic of India, 2013 ). In particular, rural communities reportedly show high rates of GDP growth and increasing consumer capacity. For instance, spending in the rural regions of the country exceeded the spending of the urban populations by $11 billion in 2009-2012 (Accenture, 2013). In particular, rural consumers have started to buy more cell phones, two wheelers, and TV sets. This means the opening of an opportunity for Apple to expand into the rural areas. This expansion should be preceded by careful analysis of the social fabric of each region on the basis of economic and social data.