Apple’s online store coming to India this year, first physical retail store in 2021

Apple to open first retail store in India next year, Tim Cook says

Apple to open first retail store in India next year, Tim Cook says (Express photo by Nandagopal Rajan)

Apple will open its first physical retail store in India in 2021, Chief Executive Tim Cook said on Wednesday. Responding to a question from a shareholder at Apple's annual shareholder meeting in Cupertino, California about the company's plans for India, Cook said Apple would start selling its products online in the country this year and will open its first Apple-branded store there next year.

"We needed to get approval from the government to go in there ourselves" rather than with a domestic partner, Cook said. "I don't want somebody else to run the brand for us."

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In May 2019, Apple CEO Tim Cook had made it clear that the company would like to look at opening retail stores in the country. He had said that Apple was “working with the government to seek approval to do that”. The Apple CEO had said they planned on “going in there (India) with sort of all of our might”.  Cook had made the remarks when talking about the second quarter results for 2019.

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Later in August 2019, the Union Cabinet announced easing of local-sourcing norms for single-brand retailers, which was seen a big hurdle for players like Apple in India. With the local-sourcing norms eased, it was seen as effectively clearing the path for Apple to open its own stores in India.

In a statement, Apple had said, “We love our customers in India and we’re eager to serve them online and in-store with the same experience and care that Apple customers around the world enjoy. We appreciate the support and hard work by Prime Minister Modi and his team to make this possible and we look forward to one day welcoming customers to India’s first Apple retail store. It will take us some time to get our plans underway and we’ll have more to announce at a future date.”

(With inputs from Reuters)