Apple’s India Stores Highlight Its Ambitions in the Country

Apple is gearing as much as open a duo of bodily retail shops in India this week — one other signal of the South Asian nation’s rising significance to the tech big. CEO Tim Cook dinner is anticipated to preside over Apple’s inaugural retail retailer opening within the nation’s monetary capital Mumbai on Tuesday. A second location within the Indian capital of New Delhi opens on April 20. Cook dinner has beforehand spoken about Apple’s view of India, saying he is a “big believer” within the alternatives the nation presents.

The opening of Apple’s first brick-and-mortar retailer in India is a part of the corporate’s broader retail push into the nation, the place its market share is comparatively small in contrast with the South Asian nation’s inhabitants. Round 620 million of India’s roughly 1.4 billion individuals personal a smartphone, making India one of many largest cellphone markets on the planet, in addition to one of many greatest alternatives for progress, in accordance with Counterpoint Analysis Director Tarun Pathak.

“Apple has a possibility to focus on tens of tens of millions of smartphones in gross sales yearly from 6 million items at the moment,” Pathak informed CNET. “Comparatively, Apple sells greater than 50 million items yearly in markets akin to China and USA every.”

Hiya, Mumbai

Apple previewed its Mumbai retailer location this week forward of the official opening. The flagship retailer, generally known as BKC Apple, is a 22,000-square-foot house in an upscale shopping center on the Bandra Kurla Complicated. The shop’s design is impressed by Mumbai’s iconic kaali peeli (black and white) taxis and is amongst Apple’s most sustainable places, the corporate says. It is unfold over two ranges, together with a tree-lined floor stage that options Apple’s signature merchandise.

The roof overhang on the Mumbai Apple Store

Apple is emphasizing the Mumbai retailer’s concentrate on sustainability.


“At Apple, our clients are on the heart of the whole lot we do, and our groups are excited to rejoice this excellent second with them as we open our first retail retailer in India,” mentioned Deirdre O’ Brien, Apple’s senior vice chairman of retail. 

Previous to this, customers in India have been restricted to buying Apple merchandise from “Apple Premium Resellers” or third-party retailers, which needed to purchase a license from Apple to promote units. Clients additionally store at Apple’s official on-line retailer, which opened in September 2020. 

The interior of the Mumbai Apple store

Apple says its retail workers are prepared to assist clients study Apple merchandise, alternative ways to pay and tips on how to swap to iOS.


“Indian shoppers have been shopping for their iPhones from numerous retail and eTail retailers, and can in all probability proceed to take action, however an Apple Retailer in two of its greatest cities in India may even give the shoppers an opportunity to expertise the Apple model, and never simply the merchandise.” Kiranjeet Kaur, affiliate analysis director at IDC, informed CNET in an e-mail. 

“Shopping for a premium cellphone requires extra contact and really feel, and shoppers want to purchase costly telephones from places they will belief,” mentioned Neil Shah, vice chairman of analysis and Counterpoint. “Till now, Apple had completely different franchises which can or could not provide the identical excessive contact service, shopping for and post-purchase expertise.”

Made in India

The dual retail shops open their doorways as Apple more and more appears past China as a producing base to nations akin to India. Final yr, Foxconn, one in every of Apple’s high iPhone suppliers, was compelled to quickly halt operations at its primary iPhone Metropolis complicated in Zhengzhou, China, following a citywide lockdown resulting from a COVID-19 outbreak. 

Ming-Chi Kuo, a longtime Apple analyst, wrote in a post on Twitter that greater than 10% of world iPhone manufacturing capability was affected by the state of affairs on the Zhengzhou campus. Foxconn makes an estimated 70% of Apple’s iPhones, in accordance with Reuters.

On the similar time, India has doled out incentives to spice up native manufacturing. In response to an April report by Bloomberg, Apple tripled iPhone manufacturing in India to the tune of $7 billion in 2022, accounting for 7% of whole iPhone manufacturing. That is a bounce from 1% in 2021. This progress is a results of partnerships with Taiwanese suppliers Foxconn and Pegatron.

“For shoppers outdoors India, the advantages to a diversified provide chain are comparatively opaque till there is a provide chain shock — a political, pandemic, or disruptive climate occasion,” mentioned Avi Greengart, analyst at Techsponential. “Even then they will not discover that there is a downside — and that is the purpose. As an alternative of coping with transport delays, restricted selection, greater costs, or all three, they may be capable of store as traditional and purchase the iPhone that they need.”

Apple nonetheless depends closely on China for almost all of its iPhone manufacturing, however Taiwanese contract producer Pegatron is reportedly planning to spice up manufacturing in India, because it eyes opening a second manufacturing unit within the area. Foxconn, in the meantime, reportedly plans to speculate about $700 million in a plant in a southern state to make cellphone elements and presumably iPhones. Analysts say Apple may start manufacturing the next-generation iPhone in India.

“I will not be stunned if Apple does [manufacture the iPhone 15 in India]. Apple had began manufacturing iPhone 14 fashions (besides the Professional collection) in India quickly after launch and was exporting these fashions to markets such because the US, Europe and the Center East,” Kaur mentioned. “India at the moment accounts for a really small share of iPhone manufacturing (<5%) however we count on this to develop not simply to account for native consumption but additionally exports.” 

Apple already manufactures the iPhone 14 in India, which is assembled at a Foxconn manufacturing unit within the outskirts of the southern metropolis of Chennai. The tech big has been making iPhones in India since 2017, however these are typically older fashions.

Apple's invitation for its Mumbai store opening

Apple’s invite for the opening of its Mumbai retail retailer.


For all of the promise India holds, it does not come with out difficulties. The South Asian nation is not recognized for its ease of doing enterprise, with a well-documented penchant for pink tape and sudden modifications in laws. Apple can also should pony up excessive import duties for elements, amongst different provides it wants.

Nonetheless, the lure of India proves sturdy. The India Apple shops have been rumored to open way back to 2016 earlier than lastly truly turning into a actuality Tuesday after a collection of delays. It comes roughly twenty years after Apple arrange store in Asia, with a flagship retailer in Tokyo in 2003. 

“India’s 620 million smartphone customers are shopping for their third or fourth smartphones,” Shah mentioned. “Because of this, contemplating rising dependence on smartphones for the whole lot, persons are choosing higher and dearer telephones.”

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