It has long been rumoured that Apple is keen on opening its first official Apple Store in India. Now, these dreams appear to be heading to reality as the recent Budget 2019 has paved the way for it to take place. Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her maiden budget speech, announced the relaxation of laws concerning single-brand stores in the country. The rules mention 30 per cent of goods sold in these stores had to be sourced locally; however, it appears that these rules may no longer apply.
As per the budget speech, foreign stores can be exempted as long as they get in “over $200 million foreign direct investment (FDI).” As of now, it is not clear what timeframe that figure would concern but in Apple’s case, this should be easily attainable.
Apple currently sells its devices in India exclusively through premium resellers operating on a franchise model. However, the smartphone giant has wanted to open a series of its own brick-and-mortar stores in India since a long while. This would be something like Apple’s flagship Fifth Avenue glass cube retail outlet in New York City.
Earlier this year it was reported that Apple had developed a short list of locations for its Apple Stores in India with Mumbai being tipped as the most likely destination. Apple is reportedly choosing between several “upscale sites.”
Apple intends to grow its brand in India and as the second most populated country in Asia after China, the Cupertino smartphone giant sees a lot of potential here. However, Apple hasn’t managed to turn this into sales. Reports estimate that over 140 million smartphones were sold in India but a mere 1.7 million were iPhones.
In a bid to expand its market in India, Apple has slashed prices of its iPhones locally and also started manufacturing “Make in India” iPhones to tempt consumers.
A report by CultofMac states, “Last summer, Apple shook up its strategy by parting ways with three members of its executive team in India. It has also hired the former Chief Customer Operations Officer at Nokia Networks to head up its India operations department. Whether this latest Apple Store glimmer of hopes turns out to be more than a mirage remains to be seen. There’s certainly reason to feel optimistic, though.”