According to reports in Bloomberg, Apple is within inches of getting the approval it needs to open its first retail locations in India. Apple is due to resubmit its retail presence application to Indian authorities; a previous incarnation of the paperwork had a formatting issue.
Apple has received a major exemption it needed to do business directly in India. Local law requires that retailers must acquire 30 percent of its product’s manufacturing inputs locally. Apple manufactures most of its products in China, meaning the stipulation was a significant headwind. That stipulation has been waived, due to Apple’s status as a cutting- edge tech firm.
“Most of the growth in India will come from new users coming into the Apple ecosystem, unlike in the West where growth is mainly from existing users upgrading,” said Tarun Pathak, a senior analyst at Counterpoint Technology Market Research, based near New Delhi. “You can expect the stores to focus mostly on iPhones.”
Apple has remained a small share of the smartphone market within India for the past few years — holding only 2 percent of the market largely due to its extremely high sticker price. Apple trails Samsung which holds 26 percent of the market, Intex with 10 percent, and Lenovo’s 9 percent in terms of smartphone marketshare.
The retail expansion follows Apple’s announcement of its Authorized Resellers program in the Indian subcontinent — an effort originally announced to be tasked with opening 500 retail store locations across 12 cities in India.