Apple Inc. is poised to open an online store for the first time in the fast-growing smartphone market of India next month, in accordance with a person with knowledge of the matter, taking advantage of a relaxation of once-strict prohibitions in opposition to foreign direct retail.
The online store can be ready for operations just ahead of the festive Dussehra-Diwali spending season, according to the person, who requested to not be named discussing confidential plans.
Sales of Apple products have long been limited to third-party resellers in India, due to restrictions on foreign corporations that require them to source 30 % of production locally.
In August 2019, India eased these rules keeping Apple from providing its products in first-party stores and an online Apple Store. Apple had initially intended to start out online sales within months of the rule change, however the world health crisis reportedly scuppered these plans.
Apple would open an online Apple Store in India to start official direct sales of iPhones, iPads, Macs, and more within the nation beginning within the third quarter of 2020.
With the rules changed, Apple is also set to start opening up retail shops in India sooner or later and already has retail locations in the works. A new store in Mumbai is in development and is about to open next year. Meanwhile, Apple has already scouted a location for its second India retailer, positioned in Bangalore close to Minsk Square.
Even prior to the rule change, Apple was working with the Indian government to get permission to open up shops in India. Over the course of the last few years, Apple began manufacturing some lower-cost iPhone models in India to fulfill local investment requirements, and has not too long ago began assembling the iPhone SE and the iPhone 11 within the nation by way of manufacturing partners Wistron and Foxconn, respectively.
Apple units have had low penetration among India’s 1.3 billion population due to excessive costs from import tariffs, making them restricted to consumers the high-end premium market. The rule changes will make Apple units more affordable to Indian consumers and may therefore see Apple grow its footprint within the nation.