Apple is getting excited at the prospect of opening its long-awaited first retail store in India.
“We appreciate the support and hard work by Prime Minister Modi and his team to make this possible and we look forward to one day welcoming customers to India’s first Apple retail store,” Apple said in a statement Thursday.
“It will take us some time to get our plans underway and we’ll have more to announce at a future date,” it continued.
Apple’s statement came after the India government moved to ease local sourcing requirements. In addition to opening its own brand Apple Stores, Apple will be able to sell iPhones direct, rather than going through third-party resellers.
“We love our customers in India and we’re eager to serve them online and in-store with the same experience and care that Apple customers around the world enjoy,” Apple said.
The dream of opening a store in India
Apple has long wanted to open its own brick-and-mortar Apple Stores in India. This would include a major flagship store reminiscent of Apple’s Fifth Avenue glass cube retail store in New York City. But it has faced problems with local sourcing laws. These state that a significant percentage of goods sold at own-brand stores must be made in India. Apple has worked toward this by starting to build “Made in India” iPhones to appeal to local customers.
Recently it was reported that Apple has developed a short list of locations for its first Apple Store in India. These are located in Mumbai, India’s most populous city. Apple is supposedly picking between several “upscale sites.” According to today’s Economic Times report, the first Apple Store in India will open in Mumbai over the next 12-18 months.
Over the past several years, Apple has been aggressive about opening new Apple Stores in China. The Indian market represents an opportunity almost as big as China. Both countries have a population of more than 1.3 billion people. However, Apple has yet to make more than a tiny dent on the Indian market.
Will own-brand Apple Stores be the answer it’s hoping for? For the first time in history, it seems that we may be about to find out. Well, at least, in 12-18 months time.