Apple is growing its ambitions in India through stores and iPhone assemblies
- Tim Cook launched the first Apple Store in India in Mumbai on Monday which will be followed by another in New Delhi later this week.
- Sales of Apple in India hit a new high of almost US$6 billion in the year through March.
- Despite having a 3% market share, the company has been expanding iPhone assembly via contract manufacturers while boosting its exports.
More than 25 years ago this week, Apple Inc made its foray into India for the first time. Despite being in the world’s second-largest smartphone market for over a quarter of a century, it is only this week that the tech giant opened its first two retail stores in the country. The move came amidst Apple’s aggressive push to bring its manufacturing into India as it gradually reduces dependency on China.
“Apple’s first two retail stores in India will open this week in Mumbai and Delhi, welcoming customers from all over the country and around the world to discover the best of Apple,” the Cupertino-based firm said on April 17, 2023. To commemorate both stores, Apple’s CEO himself visited India.
“India has such a beautiful culture and an incredible energy, and we’re excited to build on our long-standing history — supporting our customers, investing in local communities, and working together to build a better future with innovations that serve humanity,” Cook said in the statement.
The energy, creativity, and passion in Mumbai is incredible! We are so excited to open Apple BKC — our first store in India. pic.twitter.com/talx2ZQEMl
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) April 18, 2023
Cook landed in Mumbai in the wee hours of Monday, spending a day in the city ahead of the inauguration of the first store in Bandra Kurla Complex. In between, he met Indian leaders, including Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries, and Manoj Modi, director of Reliance Retail and Reliance Jio.
Local reports indicated that Cook even met N Chandrasekaran, chairman of Tata Sons, among others. The Tata Group is getting ready to start manufacturing Apple phones in India. So the meeting may or may center around something other than that. Following Mumbai’s store launch, Cook is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a few ministers during the Delhi leg of his India visit later this week.
The rise and rise of Apple in India
Experts reckon India is at an inflection point, where China was in July 2008 when Apple opened its first retail store there. In a report by Bloomberg, it is said that sales for Apple in India over the past year through March 31 climbed around 50% to almost US$6 billion. Citing someone familiar with the matter, Bloomberg said it is an impressive jump given the global slump in gadget sales across all categories.
Even then, it only makes up 1.6% of company-wide revenue and around 8% of the scale of what the iPhone maker currently gets in Greater China. That said, opening both stores this week — in Mumbai and New Delhi — is seen as either driving business in an important market or simply jumping on the bandwagon of existing growth. All of these are taking place amidst Cook’s push for suppliers such as Foxconn Technology Group, Wistron Corp., and Pegatron Corp. to ramp up output in the country.
Apple has a minuscule share in India, about 4% of the country’s nearly 700 million smartphone users. Cheaper local brands and Chinese and South Korean manufacturers lead the world’s second-biggest mobile market. The upside, however, is that the tech giant ranked first in unit sales of devices above US$365 last year, according to researcher Counterpoint.
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