Apple (AAPL) has suffered recently from a consistent barrage of pundits who assert that it has nearly reached the pinnacle of its market share in key product lines and no longer deserves consideration as a growth stock. While this may be a fair concern for key product lines in established markets, two enormous overseas markets remain largely untapped - China and India. China and India represent two dynamic markets where Apple's growth is imminent in the coming years.
When assessing the potential of Apple's expansion into China and India, the first factor investors should consider is the sheer size of these markets. China has a potential market of approximately 300 million middle class consumers. India has a market of approximately 250-300 million middle class consumers. To put these markets into perspective, the United States has a middle class population of only 150 million people. Individually, China and India each have a middle class that doubles the United States' middle class. Put together, China and India have a middle class population that is twice the size of the entire United States population. Clearly, these markets represent a nice opportunity for Apple to expand.
The second factor investors should consider is Apple's current demand in China and India, and its opportunity for potential growth in these countries. Apple currently represents only 8.5% of the Chinese market and only 3% of the Indian market. Investors should view Apple's current low market share as an opportunity for exponential growth in the coming future.
In China, Apple anticipates year over year mobile sales growth to be over 100%. And despite the fact that Apple's quarter-over-quarter shipments to China are up 30%, Apple does not have a low-end iPhone and has not yet struck a deal with China Mobile (CHL).
Apple is virtually non-existent in India, with an iOS market share of approximately 5%. India's telecommunication infrastructure is generally not ideal for Apple's premium price point because vendors do not subsidize handset sales and consumers pay cash for their device. But it is important to note that at least one major vendor, TheMobileStore, adopted Apple's subsidization strategy last year and iPhone sales increased by three-fold at these retail stores. Despite the infrastructure hurdle, Apple's sales across India have grown over 400% over the last two quarters. And the subsidization trend adopted by TheMobileStore is surely going to be adopted by more retailers as consumer demand for subsidization increases. Apple's Indian market share will likely see exponential growth in the coming future.
Although hundreds of components are vital to the success of a company in any given market, Apple is underrepresented and will inevitably grow in the world's two largest markets. These markets are four times the size of the United States market and mere moderate success in China and India will represent a huge boon to Apple's bottom line. For that reason, Apple should not be dismissed as a growth stock.
Disclosure: I am long AAPL.