Apple is planning to open its largest retail Store globally in India. The company is reportedly planning to open two new stores in the country between 10,000 square feet and 15,000 square feet, one in Mumbai and one in New Delhi. That is nearly double the size of its other global flagship stores. The stores are set to be the biggest single brand electronic stores in India and will be modeled after Apple’s flagship NYC store on Fifth Avenue.
While Apple does do iPhone assembly work in the country, it does not currently have any retail stores in India and sells its products through resellers. Apple is now reportedly interested in opening retail stores in India in light of slipping sales in China, hoping that India could be a lucrative new revenue source given the sheer size of the market. Sales in China fell 14 percent over the course of the past year and dipped down to $10.7 billion in the most recent quarter. Meanwhile, Apple reported that sales in India grew by double digits during the same period, though it didn’t give any specific numbers.
The company has been working to get favorable terms from the government and gain a more comprehensive understanding of the Indian market in the run-up to opening new retail stores in the country. Apple’s team of top retail experts reportedly paid a visit to India earlier this year in order to evaluate the retail market in the country. Apple CEO Tim Cook also met with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Washington DC last month. Cook is reportedly lobbying the Indian government for tax and regulatory concessions from the government to open the stores.
“We have a ton of energy going into the country on a number of fronts,” Cook was quoted as saying in Fortune. “We believe, particularly now that the 4G infrastructure is going in the country and it’s continuing to be expanded, there is a huge opportunity for Apple there.”
Nevertheless, the stores are reportedly several years away from being a reality. An Apple store opening in India is unlikely to happen before 2020. Part of this is a function of the stores’ proposed size. It will be challenging to find 10,000 square feet of space in major Indian cities. Moreover, the company is reportedly still working to obtain the necessary permissions from the government.
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