200 OPPO stores set to open in India over the next three years Source Shutterstock

Could OPPO decision open the door for Apple in India?

OPPO, the Chinese consumer electronics company, has been granted permission to open 200 single-brand retail stores across India – and the significance of the decision is unlikely to be lost on Apple.

The decision was passed by India’s Foreign Promotion Board, giving OPPO clearance to trade directly in the world’s third biggest smartphone market.

With hopes to establish 550 service centers across all regions of India by the end of 2017, OPPO plans to build quickly on the Indian government decision.

Sky Li, global VP and President of OPPO India said: “India has become the most important market for OPPO besides its domestic market, and we have always focused on being present across all touch- points to offer the best services to our consumers.”

The decision suggests other smartphone makers could soon be pushing for a greater share of the market.

The OPPO decision is encouraging for companies such as Xiaomi and Apple, who have been trying to gain access to the single-brand retail market for some time, according to Tarun Pathak, an analyst at Counterpoint Research.

“Opening a retail store will boost Apple’s newer generation sales,” said Pathak. “It’s also the experience that having a store allows you to offer to consumers.”

Apple applied for store licenses last year and has a market share of around three percent in India, with sales mainly driven by older generation models.

Through the opening of independent stores, newer models can be marketed.

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As of the third quarter of 2017, Samsung held the highest share of market reach through vendor distribution in India at 26 percent.

But the green light for OPPO could be the disruptive decision that sees Samsung knocked off their perch – or at least severely challenged for its spot at the top.

The Make in India initiative also encourages manufactures to set up plants in the country. BBK, which owns OPPO as well as Vivo, OnePlus and Imoo, aims to set up a factory in New Delhi by the end of 2017.