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  • Writer's pictureSarah Dixon

Apple Has Its Eyes on India – Tim Cook Opens First Ever Apple Stores in the Country

The largest company in the world in terms of market capitalization, Apple, just opened the doors to its first 2 retail Apple stores in India. This is part of a larger plan to quickly expand into India. Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, personally inaugurated the stores over the past week.

The tech giant previously struggled to break into the Indian smartphone market, which happens to be the second largest in the world, behind China.

Apple’s late entry into the Indian market was not by choice. It planned to open 3 stores in India in 2016 and 2017 but were rebuffed by a rule that requires stores to source at least 30% of the goods they sell locally.

Luckily for Apple and Indian iPhone fans, this rule was relaxed in 2019. Apple was finally able to open its first retail store last week in Mumbai, a blooming financial hub. Located in a prosperous neighborhood, the flashy store was styled to resemble the famous black and yellow taxis of Mumbai.

Cook not only opened the store, but he also stayed around to talk with customers and even took a few selfies. Two days later he opened the doors to India’s second Apple store, this time in the capital of Delhi. Named Apple Saket, the store is located in one of the busiest malls in India, the Select Citywalk mall.

Why India’s First 2 Apple Stores Matter

India is the world’s second-largest smartphone market, just behind China, and is projected to grow rapidly over the next 5 years. According to a recent study by Counterpoint Research, smartphone shipments in India will rebound in 2023 after a small drop in 2022.

The growth of iPhones in India is expected to be much higher. Counterpoint Research said that Apple now captures 25% of the total value of the Indian smartphone market, compared to a mere 12% in 2021.

This growth is likely driven by the company’s aggressive pricing strategies and the popularity of older iPhone models (like the iPhone SE and iPhone 11). However, the company still trails behind Samsung and Chinese smartphone manufacturers like Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, realme and Oppo, who have a larger share of the market due to their more affordable products.

Opening retail stores isn’t Apple’s only plan for India. Taiwan-based Foxconn, Apple’s main manufacturing partner that produces most iPhones, is investing in India as a new manufacturing hub.

Foxconn has had a factory in India for about 5 years now but it has mostly produced older models of the iPhone. The company is now producing iPhone 14s, the newest generation of Apple phones, in India.

If tensions between the United States and China continue to worsen, Apple may decide to move more and more of its manufacturing into U.S.-friendly India. For now, India is only producing a small percentage of the new iPhones.

However, if U.S.-China relations sour or if India’s smartphone market grows as predicted, Apple and Foxconn may pour more resources into the country to make it an iPhone manufacturing hub.

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

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