Last month we reported that Apple’s online store would be operational from Q3 this year after it was initially scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2020. In a shareholder meeting on Wednesday, CEO Tim Cook confirmed the company’s plan of setting up an online store in India this year and a brick-and-mortar store by 2021. Cook said in a statement that, ‘We are not the best firm for partnership. We like to do things our way”. To recall, in August last year, the Government of India had relaxed the FDI rules allowing single-brand retailers to open online stores in the country before setting up offline stores.
Cook was quoted saying, ‘I don’t want somebody else to run the brand for us’. Apple currently sells its products through third-party resellers in India. The company’s decision to operate in India is due to the online platforms offering massive discounts on its products. Additionally, heavy import duties make iPhones more expensive for Indian customers. Cook added that Apple hasn’t received the Indian government’s approval to open its web store yet. The Cupertino-based company has been assembling and manufacturing specific iPhone-models in India to reduce their prices. Past reports suggest that Apple has leased an unknown location in Mumbai for its upcoming retail store. Tim Cook is expected to visit India in June-July this year to inaugurate the store. However, the exact timeline of the online and offline store launch remains a mystery.
With Apple’s online and offline store it could become a one-stop-shop for its entire ecosystem of products and even increasing its portfolio in the country. Previously Apple had reported double-digit growth in India in the quarter that ended in December. Cook has repeatedly stated that India is a key market for Apple.