Apple to open first official store in India next year

Apple will finally make its official mark on India after CEO Tim Cook revealed plans on Thursday to open the very first physical store in the country next year.

Apple has wanted a brick-and-mortar footprint in India for some time, but government regulations previously prevented overseas companies from opening stores if they do not source 30% of raw materials locally.

Apple lobbied for an exemption from that law, which was ratified in 2018, and after a long wait, it has now been given approval to start work.

During a shareholders’ meeting in California in midweek, Cook said that it wanted to wait for official approval as he did not want “somebody else to run the brand for us”.

India is a thriving smartphone market, though Apple devices are not as popular there as in other regions due to the exorbitant costs, which can run to around a year’s salary for a flagship iPhone.

It has made headway in recent years and logged its “best ever performance” in Q4 last year.

Shipments increased 200% during that quarter compared to a year earlier, and it is now pushing traditional heavyweights Xiaomi and Samsung.

Analysts believe that the release of the iPhone 11 was a watershed moment for Apple in India due to its more affordable price point and excitement about the improvements to the rear cameras.

Canalys analyst Madhumita Chaudhary noted: “The new iPhones have appealed not just to current iPhone users looking to upgrade, but also to value-conscious premium phone purchasers.”

Apple phones are currently sold via location partners, but it will soon have an official outlet for its iPhones and other products.

Cook did not reveal an exact date for the opening of the new store in India, but it will happen sometime in 2021.

Apple will also start online sales in the country later this year.

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