Apple will open its online stores in India this year and will launch its first brick and mortar store by 2021 according to a TechCrunch report.

After much speculation regarding the opening of Apple’s online stores, Apple CEO Tim Cook, at Apple’s 2020 Annual Meeting of Shareholders, told investors that company will open its online store in India at some point this year and launch its first flagship brick-and-mortar store next year according to the report.

Apple’s growth in the Indian market

India is a huge market for the tech giant. According to a Counterpoint report iPhone shipments in India had increased by 6 per cent in 2019.

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The company had reported double-digit growth in India during the October-December 2019 quarter. Its revenue grew 9 per cent to $91.8 billion. It had started focussing on the Indian market with special pricing, promotions and an e-commerce push after June 2019, when it witnessed significant growth in the market, according to previous reports.

Major challenges

However, there are a few issues that were hindering the company’s growth in the domestic market. The main challenge for the company was to set affordable prices for its products. Heavy import duties on electronics further increased costs for the brand. It had then turned to assemble its smartphones in India through contractors Foxconn and Wistron which helped the brand lower its costs and reduce the price of its products. The government further provides several incentives to companies that assemble electronic items locally.

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The move will save on import tax, which is now revised to 20%

According to a recent Bloomberg report, the government is also planning to offer subsidised loans to smartphone manufacturers in an attempt to woo the suppliers of Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics Co, to open factories in India.

Apple had announced its plans to launch brick-and-mortar retail stores along with its online stores in India back in August 2019. “We love our customers in India and we're eager to serve them online and in-store with the same experience and care that Apple customers around the world enjoy,” Apple CEO Tim Cook had said in an official statement. “We appreciate the support and hard work by Prime Minister Modi and his team to make this possible and we look forward to one day welcoming customers to India's first Apple retail store.”

Currently, over 30 per cent of Apple products are sold in India online through third-party e-commerce platforms including Amazon India, Flipkart and Paytm Mall.

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