Apple is set to open its first retail store in Mumbai as it bets big on India

Apple is set to open its first physical store in India, betting on the country as a market and manufacturing base.

Apple is set to open its first retail store in Mumbai as it bets big on India

Hong Kong CNN

Apple is finally preparing to open its physical store in India, as it makes a bet on India as both a manufacturing and a market base.

In a short statement issued on Wednesday, the company hinted at the opening of its retail store in Mumbai's financial and commercial center. The previous plan for the company to open a retail outlet in the country by 2021 was scuppered by the coronavirus epidemic.

The company has released a photo of its newly boarded up storefront at Jio World Drive Mall. This property is owned by Reliance Industries - the conglomerate run by Indian tycoon Mukesh Ambani.

The statement read: "Hello Mumbai."

An announcement outside the store stated that it would be "arriving soon." Apple (AAPL), however, did not respond immediately to a request that included more details such as an opening date.

It has been more than 20 year since the Californian giant entered the Indian market via third-party resellers.

Apple and other foreign retail chains were prohibited from opening shops in India unless at least 30% raw materials were sourced locally. This forced them to rely upon local partners. In 2019, the Indian government relaxed certain investment rules.

In India, the company will launch an online store by 2020. Customers can buy the products of the company and, for the very first time, they can customize some devices.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, has said that he does not want anyone else running the brand on his behalf.

Manufacturing base

Recently, the company has increased manufacturing in India.

According to Counterpoint Research, the number of iPhones manufactured and shipped out of India will increase by 65% between 2022 and the previous year.

Apple began manufacturing iPhones in China in 2017. Apple has increased production in recent months after experiencing severe supply chain problems in mainland China. This is where the majority of its smartphones are manufactured.

According to Counterpoint, Foxconn, one of Apple's largest contract manufacturers, and Wistron were two of the fastest-growing manufacturers of Apple products in India for the last quarter 2022.

Foxconn's CEO Young Liu visited India for a week and met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Karnataka, a southern state in India, said Foxconn announced a big deal during Liu’s visit. It also claimed that 300 acres of land were allocated for the facility.

Bloomberg reported that unnamed sources said the Taiwanese firm plans to invest $700 million in a new factory to manufacture iPhone parts in Bengaluru, the state capital.

In January, a minister from the Indian government said that Apple hoped to increase its production in India from between 5% and 7 % to a quarter. Apple did not reply to a comment request at the time.

There is room for growth

India is still a far cry from being a major market for iPhones.

According to Counterpoint, Apple is the leader in premium smartphone sales in India. The iPhone 13 was the top-selling model in India's segment in 2017.

The research firm stated that the company is still behind the market leaders, Xiaomi (SSNLF) and Samsung (SSNLF).

Apple's share of the Indian smartphone market was just 1% in 2019. Prachir Singh, Counterpoint's senior analyst, said that this number could rise to more than 5% by next year.

He said that Apple's market share in India could increase as more stores are opened, especially since Mumbai is the second-largest Indian market after Delhi.

Singh stated that Apple will be able control the user experience from beginning to end, which will take their brand image up a notch.