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Apple in India- First Store Opened

Apple Inc. is poised to inaugurate its inaugural flagship store in India during a highly anticipated launch on Tuesday, underscoring the company’s burgeoning ambitions to broaden its presence in the nation, which it also envisions as a potential manufacturing hub. Ahead of the grand opening, a multitude of individuals queued up outside the store. Situated in Mumbai, India’s financial hub, the store’s design draws inspiration from the city’s distinctive black-and-yellow taxis. A second store is scheduled to open in the national capital, New Delhi, on Thursday.

Expressing enthusiasm for the venture, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, currently in Mumbai, stated, “India has such a beautiful culture and an incredible energy, and we’re excited to build on our long-standing history.”

Despite having operated in India for over 25 years through authorized retailers and its online platform, Apple faced regulatory obstacles and pandemic-related delays in establishing a flagship store.

The launch of these new stores is a clear indication of the company’s dedication to investing in India, the world’s second-largest smartphone market, where iPhone sales have been steadily increasing, according to Jayanth Kolla, an analyst at Convergence Catalyst, a tech consultancy. He remarked that the stores emphasize “how much India matters to the present and the future of the company.” Approximately 600 million out of India’s 1.4 billion people own smartphones, indicating an under-penetrated market with significant growth potential, as noted by Neil Shah, vice president of research at Counterpoint Research. Between 2020 and 2022, Apple’s market share in the Indian smartphone market increased from around 2% to 6%, according to Counterpoint data.

Despite this growth, the relatively high price of iPhones has limited their accessibility to a majority of Indians. Instead, sales have thrived among the affluent segment of the population with disposable incomes. Apple has secured 65% of the “premium” smartphone market in India, where prices start from 30,000 rupees ($360), according to Counterpoint data.

In a significant development, Apple announced in September that it would begin manufacturing the iPhone 14 in India, aligning with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government’s push for increased local manufacturing.

While Apple has been assembling iPhones in India since 2017, the challenge lies in the fact that raw materials are still sourced from outside the country. To address this, the tech company must either locate local suppliers or bring its existing suppliers from countries like China, Japan, and Taiwan closer to enhance production, according to Neil Shah of Counterpoint.

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