Apple to open its online store in India this year, says Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday said that the company will start selling products directly to Indian consumers via its official e-store this year. Apple so far has sold its products in India via third-party sellers and marketplaces like Amazon and Croma. Cook also confirmed plans to open Apple's first retail store in India in 2021.
Cook's comments come after the Indian government eased the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms. The updated norms allowed 100% FDI in contract manufacturing and eased sourcing norms for single brand retailers enabling companies like Apple to open online stores in India before setting up physical stores.
"I'm a huge believer in the opportunity in India...It's a country with a vibrancy and demographics that are just unparalleled," Cook said while addressing the shareholders at the company's annual meeting.
"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."
Last year, Bloomberg reported that the tech giant would open its first retail store in India as soon as 2020. People familiar with the matter said that the company was in the process of finalising a location for a brick-and-mortar store in Mumbai.
The Apple CEO said that the coronavirus outbreak posed a challenge for the company. Cook's statement follows an announcement made by the company earlier this month wherein it warned the shareholders that it would not be able to meet its sales targets for the March quarter owing to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Apple has its manufacturing units located all across China. The recent pandemic has not only led to the suppliers and partners shutting down the manufacturing plants, but it has also led to the company temporarily shutting down all its retail stores in Mainland China.
Apple has since reopened 30 of its 42 stores in the country, Bloomberg reported. Its partners have also started reopening the manufacturing facilities. However, reports hint that it will take the companies to come up to speed and make up for the lost time.
Additionally, reports have also hinted that the Coronavirus outbreak could also lead to the delay in the launch of the iPhone 9, which as per separate reports, is expected to launch on March 31. The pandemic is also expected to offset the company's production timeline for the iPhone 12 series smartphones.