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iPhones Feed a Gadgets Frenzy During India’s Busiest Gift Season

Apple, Huawei, and others release almost 100 models in the world’s second-largest mobile market.

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Illustration: Kati Szilagyi for Bloomberg Businessweek

Brands including Apple and Huawei are releasing almost a hundred smartphone models ahead of India’s Diwali shopping bonanza, an unprecedented rollout for companies looking to capture a bigger chunk of the world’s second-largest mobile market.

More than a dozen foreign and local smartphone makers will vie for attention around the Hindu Festival of Lights on Nov. 14, which ushers in an annual gifting spree that can make an American Christmas seem subdued. South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. introduced twice its usual number of devices, while Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple Inc. showcased its smaller and more affordable iPhone 12 mini. Even Shenzhen-based Huawei Technologies Inc. pulled out the stops with three new designs, despite renewed Indian-Chinese military tensions over their contested border. (The dispute led Indian traders to call for a boycott of Chinese goods.) The lineup also includes phones custom-designed for the Indian market, geared toward everything from gaming to studying. There have even been zany promos like Xiaomi Corp. India chief Manu Jain starring in a rap video and mobile stores on wheels roaming the countryside.