Apple To Set Up 2-3 Experience Centres, Online Retail Store In India
A customer tries out an Apple iPhone at a multi-brand store in New Delhi. (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)

Apple To Set Up 2-3 Experience Centres, Online Retail Store In India

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Apple Inc. is planning to set up 2-3 brick-and-mortar stores in India, as well as an online retail store, as the iPhone maker looks to further cement its position in one of the world's largest smartphone markets.

According to people aware of the matter, Apple has conveyed to the government its plans to set up physical as well as an online store, in line with its "global experience" centres for Apple-branded products.

The move comes at a time when global smartphone manufacturers have reiterated their commitment to the Indian market and are looking to significantly ramp up their manufacturing capabilities in the country.

Apple, which works with Taiwanese contract manufacturer Wistron in India, currently makes iPhone 6S and 7 at a Bengaluru facility. While Apple did not respond to a query on its plans to make more models in India, one of the people cited above said the Cupertino, U.S.-based company is weighing such plans.

On Aug. 28, the government reworked local-sourcing norms for foreign investors, in a major push for FDI in single-brand retail. It also did away a provision that required firms to mandatorily set up a brick-and-mortar store before getting into online retail in India.

Following the announcement, Apple said that it is keen on offering online and in-store experiences to Indian users that are at par with global standards, adding it and aims to open its maiden retail store in India.

While the company is silent on the locations of Apple Stores, reports suggest Mumbai could become home to the first Apple store in India.

India is looking to galvanise smartphone manufacturing and position itself as a global hub, dishing out incentives to sweeten the deal for international brands.

Amid growing concerns around U.S.-China trade war, India now has an opportunity to woo companies that had so far concentrated their manufacturing operations in China.

The government has been engaged in dialogue with key players to understand their concerns and requirements.

In a recent report, industry body Internet and Mobile Association of India said India's mobile manufacturing lacks scale and depth, despite its ambition to become global production hub. India needs to "think big" by manufacturing at scale, producing high-end phones, and incentivising exports, the IAMAI report added.

Also read: Army of Women Earning $4 a Day Could Be Behind Your Next iPhone

The report pegged the valuation of the global smartphone market at $467 billion, with almost all of the manufacturing demand being met by China, Vietnam, South Korea and Taiwan.

The IAMAI report also stated that in 2018-19, India exported mobile handsets worth $1.4 billion compared to $2.7 billion in 2012-13. The production of mobile handsets had reached 225 million units in 2017-18 and India has the potential to manufacture one billion handsets annually, the report stated.

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