After losing ground in China, Apple is now seeing India as its next big market. To establish Apple in the fastest-growing smartphone market, Foxconn Technology Group, Apple’s important manufacturing partner, is running quality tests for the iPhone XR series in India. Next, the tech giant is planning to kick start mass production at a facility in the suburbs of Chennai.
Notably, original equipment manufacturer (OEM) Wistron is already assembling older models of iPhones in Bangalore. People close to the development said, “increase in local operations should expedite approval for a company-owned store when a new government takes over in India at the end of May or early June.”
Company’s Own Store in the Commercial Hub of India
According to people familiar with the plans, the company is making all efforts to strengthen its foothold in India. From some of the upscale locations in Mumbai, the company will select one in the next few weeks, said people, who didn’t want to disclose their identities as the matter is private.
The locations explored by Apple are iconic sites like Fifth Avenue in New York, Regent Street in London or the Champs-Elysees in Paris, people said. Since Apple fails to meet local sourcing requirements, it was not allowed to open its stores in India. However, moving its manufacturing base to India and conversations with the government will yield positive results.
In India, Apple has to compete with Chinese brands like Xiaomi and Vivo, who have enticed Indian consumers with low-priced Android smartphones. But Apple CEO Tim Cook believes that “manufacturing iPhones in India will allow the company to sidestep 20% tariffs on imported phones, making its devices more competitive”.
Cook further said, “India is a very important market in the long term. It’s a challenging market in the short term, but we’re learning a lot. We plan on going in there with sort of all of our might.”
By opening a retail store before Apple’s next iPhone launch is Apple’s strategy to write its first chapter of the Indian growth story. Moreover, the company’s retail store can help Apple to reinforce its premium image.
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Image Credit: ft.com