There are 5M to 6M iPhones in Iran. With the recent report from the Iranian officials, 100 thousand new smuggled iPhones get activated in the country each month. That’s about 1.2M new iPhones being imported illegally into the country each year which is a one Billion dollar market in Iran.
Thing That You Should Know
U.S. Sanctions Against Iran
Just like the people in the west, Iranians would have spent their night on the long queues if Apple had an official store in Iran or even an official reseller. But the fact is that Apple has no official or unofficial relationships with Iran. There were rumors that they might be in talks with few Iranian distributors to work in Iran’s market directly but with the American government’s sanction on Iran, no American company can work with the country. And it’s not only American companies, if a company has a U.S. citizen on its board of directors, again it can’t work with Iran. This is not the end of the story yet, recently Iran’s government took an initiative to stop the smuggling of smartphones to the country.
Iran’s Fight With Smuggled iPhones
Without any official reseller in Iran, shops in Iran started to import iPhones illegally. And this was not only iPhones. If you can smuggle iPhones without paying any taxes you can import any kind of smartphone in the country and that’s what shops did. With the 40M smartphones in the country, you can imagine how big is the market in Iran. People love smartphones especially iPhones and when there is so much demand for something businesses would answer the call. In the past 10 years many companies and distributors claimed that they are the official reseller of Apple in Iran but as you can guess all of them were fake. Recently government took an initiative to stop the smuggling which we covered the whole story and the methods in this post.
Nearly a month ago, 9 official domestic importers of iPhone got introduced to the public by the Deputy Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade (MIMT). Since Apple has no official reseller in the country, these companies should provide after-sales services for the customers as well. By legalizing the importation of iPhones, the government can track each iPhone that was brought to the country by legal channels. And with the help of the mobile network operators, only those iPhones that have been registered by the Ministry of Industry, Mine and Trade can be used with Iranian SIM Cards.
Apple Has A One Billion Dollar Market in Iran
There are 5M to 6M iPhones in Iran. With the recent report from the Iranian officials, 100 thousand new smuggled iPhones get activated in the country each month. That’s about 1.2M new iPhones being imported illegally into the country each year. If we set a price of $749 for each iPhone, smuggled iPhones have nearly $900M market in Iran on average. If we count the legally imported iPhones into the country as well we would probably hit a $1B market and I think that’s a huge market for any brand in the world. This is just iPhones and we didn’t count other Apple products such as accessories or MacBooks which are a hit in Iran as well. This shows Iran’s market potential for any kind of electronic device since Iranians are tech-savvy. Now is the time for any brand that wants to enter Iran’s market while U.S. sanctions are in place against the country. We can also see the signs of famous brands being in talks with government officials to enter Iran in full scale such as Samsung Electronics. The visit of Iran’s Minister of Communication with a delegation (even mobile network operators) to Samsung HQ in South Korea shows that both parties are interested in deeper cooperations since it can be fruitful for both of them. The question is which company is willing to invest and bring money to the country to start manufacturing in Iran. It’s obvious that Iran is after becoming a regional hub for any of these multinational brands. We think that we are going to answer this question in the next two years.
iPhone 7 Temptation in Iran
In case you are wondering about the iPhone demand in Iran you should know that only a day after iPhone 7’s official release, Iranians had access to the new iPhone. And yes all of these iPhones were smuggled in the country, and since the new regulations are not being implemented yet, people are still buying these new iPhones. How is the pricing? IT IS INSANE. The most expensive iPhone which is the iPhone 7 Plus with 256GB of storage is now being sold for $2500 and the original price is $969. It will take two months for the market to settle for the permanent and acceptable price which is also more than the original price. This is how much Iranians crave for technology and gadgets. Here we have listed the new iPhone’s prices on the first day of its availability in Iran:
|Model||Storage||Price in USA||Price in Iran|
|iPhone 7||32 GB||$649||$1100|
|iPhone 7 Plus||32 GB||$769||$1600|