For years, India has been a low priority for Apple as spending power is weaker than in China, where the company's iPhones swiftly became must-have devices after their 2007 launch.
               
But Apple is now looking to build on a 93 percent increase in its iPhone sales in India in April-June, which for the first time outpaced growth in China, of 87 percent - albeit from a low base. Apple has just a 2 percent share of India's smartphone market, while South Korean rival Samsung Electronics  accounts for around one third of volume sales with its range of Android phones.
               
The India push coincides with Apple missing elevated expectations when it reported earnings earlier this week, prompting some investors to question how long double-digit growth can continue.

"Apple is consciously expanding its distribution in India and pushing its products aggressively. The marketing spend too is a part of that," said Jaideep Mehta, managing director for India and South Asia at tech research firm IDC.

Executives at several electronics retail chains and Apple distributors said the Cupertino-based firm was chasing shelf space to make its gadgets more visible, and has more than doubled the number of distributors to five.
               
Apple has also brought in a new senior executive to take charge solely of the Indian market, industry sources said, and has placed advertisements for a policy adviser to help it work with New Delhi's bureaucracy.
               
The company declined to comment on its India strategy. "Apple's single-minded focus for India is on volume," said a senior executive at an electronics chain store, who declined to be named.

"They have increased distributors and want to reach out to smaller cities," he said.