Next month, Apple's online store could be launched in India
More than 10 years after launching the first iPhone in India, Apple is gearing up to start direct sales in the country. According to a report by Bloomberg, the Cupertino giant is poised to open its first online store as early as next month, as part of a broader push to make inroads in the world's second-largest smartphone market. Here's all about it.
Multiple people familiar with the developments at Apple have confirmed to Bloomberg that the company's online store will be opened in September. One person said that the store will be ready for operations just ahead of the Dussehra-Diwali festive shopping season in the country. However, the unnamed person did not give any specific date to look forward to.
Once the online store goes operational, Apple will move toward opening its first brick-and-mortar retail locations in India. Currently, Bloomberg's sources say, the Tim Cook-led company has planned two physical stores - one in Mumbai's Bandra Kurla Complex and the other near Bengaluru's Minsk Square. Notably, the Mumbai-based store is expected to open first, possibly sometime next year.
The retail push from Apple comes as the Indian government has eased the FDI regulations that required foreign companies to source 30% of production locally to start direct sales. The rule blocked Apple's retail ambitions for years, forcing the company to follow a third-party approach where it had to sell through stores owned by franchise partners and online platforms like Amazon and Flipkart.
Apple was supposed to launch the online store earlier this year, a few months after the easing of the rules, but the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the plans and led to a delay.
Tellingly, with its online and offline stores, Apple will be able to position itself more effectively against other players in the market, particularly OnePlus, Samsung. It will help the company control branding and win customer loyalty to grow its user-base in the world's fastest-growing smartphone market. Plus, the move will also generate employment, boosting India's economy at the same time.