Apple opens first store in India

April 19, 2023 3:37 pm

Apple CEO Tim Cook interacts with people as Deirdre O'Brien, Apple's senior vice president of Retail and People looks on, during the inauguration of India's first Apple retail store in Mumbai, India, April 18, 2023. [Source: Reuters Business]

About 300 people queued at Apple’s store in Mumbai, as fans took selfies with Chief Executive Tim Cook, who inaugurated the first retail store in India.

People flocked to the store from across India, hoping to be among the first to enter, in an opening event featuring local music and folk dancers.

Some queued outside from the previous night to get their hands on Apple products, even though they are available online in India.

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Many visitors wore T-shirts in the style favoured by co-founder Steve Jobs, had their hair cut in the shape of an Apple logo and one fan even brought a version of the first Apple computer launched in 1984.

His love for Apple took him to store openings as a young student in New York and Boston, where he once got a chance to meet Cook, he said.

Apple has previously faced hurdles in opening physical retail stores in the South Asian nation, but its products have been available on e-commerce websites, while its online store opened in 2020.

The new store opens as Indian consumers increasingly look to upgrade their smartphones to glitzier models, with richer feature sets, from budget devices typically costing less than $120.

Still, Apple’s pricey phones are affordable for only a few in India, where it accounts for just a 3% share of the market.

The new store, located in the Reliance-owned Jio World Drive mall, opened for bloggers and tech analysts at a private event on Monday, while many Indian film and television celebrities were seen meeting Cook that night.

A second store in Delhi, the capital, is set to open on Thursday. Cook is set to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the deputy IT minister later this week, sources told Reuters.

As Apple pushes to make India a bigger manufacturing base, some of its products, including iPhones, are being assembled in the country by Taiwanese contract electronics manufacturers Foxconn (2317.TW) and Wistron Corp (3231.TW).

It also plans to assemble iPads and AirPods in India.