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Apple CEO Tim Cook has officially opened the company’s first retail store in India, situated in Mumbai’s high-end Bandra-Kurla Complex shopping mall, also known as ‘BKC’. The store’s launch marks Apple’s latest push into India’s rapidly expanding smartphone market, where the premium segment remains relatively untapped.
The new flagship store is among the most energy-efficient Apple Store locations in the world, with a dedicated solar array and zero reliance on fossil fuels for its operations. The store is operationally carbon neutral, running on 100% renewable energy.
Cook attended the store’s opening, where he welcomed the first customers and posed for selfies outside Apple BKC. The opening of the physical store marks the culmination of Apple’s sustained efforts to meet regulators’ demands, which included making some of its products locally. Apple is set to open another store in New Delhi on Thursday, with Cook scheduled to attend. The visit is also expected to include a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and is Cook’s first trip to India in seven years.
Until now, Apple products in India have only been sold online or through a network of resellers. The new physical stores offer a premium buying experience and bring Apple’s branding cachet to the country. The move comes as Apple’s sales in India hit a new high of almost $6 billion in the year through March, growing nearly 50% from $4.1 billion a year earlier, according to Bloomberg.
Apple has been working to build out a manufacturing supply chain in India, home to the world’s second-biggest smartphone market. As a further indication of the country’s perceived importance as a production hub, Apple shifted iPhone 14 assembly from China to India in the weeks following its release.
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Apple’s move into the Indian market is significant, given the country’s population of nearly 1.4 billion people and its rapidly growing economy. With only about 4% of India’s nearly 700 million smartphone users owning iPhones, there is significant potential for Apple to grow its presence in the country’s premium smartphone market.