Apple to finally open retail stores in India
Apple is looking to open retail stores in India, one of their fastest-growing markets now that the Indian government has changed restricting regulations. After months of lobbying for the changes in those regulations, Apple is taking steps to start selling more products to people directly, and to compete more heavily with the cheap Android models that are now predominantly sold in India.
India’s smartphone market totals 139 million units a year, but Apple sold only 2 million units in the last fiscal quarter, a 56% growth rate for the same period. The company hopes that introducing the full Apple experience (genius bar and all) will help lift sales to a market share of 5 to 10 percent.
The old regulations stipulated that foreign-owned companies selling a single brand of products needed to have at least 30% of those products made in India. Since nearly all Apple devices are entirely made in China, this prevented Apple from setting up shop in the Indian market. With the new regulations in place, companies like Apple have a three-year exemption, which can be extended to eight years for companies selling so-called ‘state-of-the-art’ items or ‘cutting edge’ technology.
Even though Apple’s products are not as mainstream as they seem to be in the Western world, their branding efforts have paid off at least as much. Owning an iPhone is a status symbol, according to Anshul Gupta, a personal technology analyst in Mumbai.
In exchange for India’s loosened regulations, Apple is considering opening refurbishing centers, a new development center, and a tech accelerator in India, creating thousands of possible jobs in the process.