India is finally getting its own official Apple Stores

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India Apple Stores
The closest thing India has to an Apple Store at the moment.
Photo: Lawrence Sinclair/Flickr CC

India is finally getting its own official Apple Stores, thanks to a partnership with local consumer electronics chain Croma.

The six new retail stores will be opened inside existing Croma stores in India, much like the store-in-a-store model used by Apple during the 1990s. Despite this, they will feature the familiar Apple Store look and feel, and be manned by staff trained by Apple.

Five of the six stores will be based in Mumbai, located in Malad, Juhu, Oberoi Mall, Phoenix Mall and Ghatkopar. The remaining one will be located in Jayanagar in Bengaluru. No opening dates have yet been announced, but it is reported that they will be open by October-November 2016.

Apple was forced to team with Croma due to Indian laws. Similar laws have delayed Apple from opening stores in other international locations like the United Arab Emirates, although the company was recently granted an exception in the UAE.

Before now, Apple sold its products in India exclusively through premium resellers operating on a franchise model.

Although it still represents a small market for Apple, India is growing quickly. Apple sold 1.7 million iPhones in the country between October 2014 and September 2015, which was up from the 1.1 million units sold the previous financial year.

Recently Tim Cook also met with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during which Apple’s CEO said that India holds a “very special place in the heart of every Apple employee” because it was the country Steve Jobs visited as a young man searching for inspiration.

India’s Communications and I.T. Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has also pushed for Apple to open an R&D center in the country. There has additionally been increasing talk about Foxconn shifting iPhone production to India, since this would allow it to get around the problem of accelerating wage inflation in China, where the majority of iPhones are made at the moment.

Source: Financial Express