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First Apple store to open in India

By Lawrence Gash

CEO Tim Cook announces that the tech giant plans 2021 opening

Apple (APPL) CEO Tim Cook has announced that the US tech giant will open its first retail outlet in India next year, having relied on third-party sellers in the emerging economy.

In the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday, Cook told investors of the company’s plan, stating, “I don’t want somebody else to run the brand for us.” He added: “We like to do things our way.” He also announced that Apple would start selling its products online in India later this year.

Two years ago, the Indian government introduced new laws prohibiting foreign brands from establishing single-brand stores in the country without seeking and obtaining special permission to do so.

With the rapid economic growth promised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi not yet materialising, the Indian government has relaxed some regulations in order to promote international investment in India. The government recently changed its 30 per cent local sourcing rule to include exports, meaning that Apple can count products manufactured in India but exported elsewhere and thus satisfy the requirements.

With Chinese firms rushing to help India’s expansion of 5G technology, the US government will likely welcome Apple’s decision to further commit to the emerging economy. President Donald Trump visited India earlier this week, holding a major rally with Narendra Modi.

Cook’s announcement comes four months after initial reports that Apple had leased a site in Mumbai’s Maker Maxity mall, between 20,000 and 25,000 sq ft in size and spread over three floors.

The scale of the future store reflects the scale of India’s projected economic growth. Discussing the decision with investors, Cook said: “I’m a huge believer in the opportunity in India. It’s a country with a vibrancy and demographics that are just unparalleled.”

Like most other major stocks, Apple has endured a torrid time in recent days thanks to the coronavirus epidemic. In mid-morning US trading, its share price fell 3.86 per cent to stand at $281.36.

FURTHER READING: How the coronavirus has affected Apple stock predictions

FURTHER READING: India advised to launch ambitious blockchain strategy

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