Apple has ceased sales of some of its older iPhone models in India in a bid to improve its flagging profitability and average selling price in the country.

The company today withdrew the iPhone 4s, which was selling for as low as Rs 12,000 ($175), in a move aimed at increasing share and acquiring new customers. Apple also stopped selling its iPhone 5c model, priced at Rs 20,000 ($292), marking the company’s exit from India’s fast-growing sub-Rs 20,000 mobile market, reports The Economic Times.

According to Counterpoint Research, Apple’s average selling price in India increased sequentially during the last quarter of 2015 due to the introduction of the iPhone 6s, but it declined 20 percent compared to that a year ago. Analysts believe the latest move is likely to lead to an increase in share for its main rival Samsung as well as Chinese brands.

However, senior analyst at Counterpoint Research, Tarun Pathak, believes the iPhone 5s will fill the gap created by the removal of the iPhone 4s.

“The recent price cut of iPhone 5s is in line with Apple’s strategy of positioning this model as affordable in emerging countries and will continue to pull an aspirational young audience looking to upgrade their smartphones in the midsegment,” said Pathak.

In December, Apple cut the prices of its iPhone 6s and 6s Plus handsets in India by up to 16 percent, following a reported dive in sales. The move quickly followed Apple’s decision to halve the price of iPhone 5s, from 45,500 Rupees to 24,999 Rupees.

Apple CEO Tim Cook recently earmarked India’s booming mobile market as a significant focus of energy for the company. Over 200 million people own smartphones there, which is still less than a third of the country’s population.

Today also saw the launch of India’s cheapest smartphone, a $7 handset being manufactured by domestic handset maker Ringing Bells as part of the government’s Made in India campaign.

Tag: India

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