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Apple will finally start selling its goods online in India by the end of this summer

Long overdue.

apple store signage selling iphones
Image: Unsplash

It is no secret that Apple has been lobbying in India for years now so that the government allows foreign direct retail. They have also been pushing against regulations that forced them to source 30% of components from the local market.

The lobbying first came to fruition when last year, the government relaxed those rules. As a result, Apple planned to start selling online immediately after that. Later on, the coronavirus pandemic temporarily halted its plans.

However, according to a well-informed source, the smartphone maker is on track to open its first online store in India next month, reports Bloomberg. The online store will be open for business shortly before the Dussehra-Diwali spending season.

Why India and Why Now?

Apple has recently surpassed its $2 trillion market cap and is already thinking of further expansion. Their primary focus is India, which is considered to be a vastly under-served smartphone market.

In the past, the local demand was mainly for cheap and older models. But India is not the market it once was, and Apple is taking note of that. Currently, Apple is the leading brand in the premium smartphone segment, holding almost half of this market. In the last two quarters, both the iPhone 11 and the iPhone XR combined for around 28% of all high-end smartphone shipments.

By selling through its online stores, Apple plans to strengthen its brand and increase customer loyalty. They believe that by doing so, they can level with their main competitors Samsung and OnePlus.

The other goal is to become less reliant on China, which is their most important manufacturing hub and the biggest market at the same time. The trade war between the USA and China can quickly escalate, and they know that as well.

In addition to their online stores, Apple is also planning to open physical stores. They have already set their eyes on some prime real estate in Mumbai and Bangalore.

Their expansion in this part of Asia doesn’t stop with their retail operations as they have moved some of their manufacturing there as well. Presently, through their manufacturing partners Wistron Corp and Foxconn, they have set up an assembly line for their latest handsets. Their first manufacturing plant is yet to be opened and will be run by Pegatron, one of their manufacturing partners.

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