Apple CEO Tim Cook says the first Apple India store is on track to open next year.
Cook made the announcement in response to a question at the firm’s annual shareholder meeting. The company’s plans for the region have been anticipated for some time, following the relaxation of government regulations affecting foreign retailers, easing the requirements of local sourcing and scrapping a law making it mandatory for brands to open physical stores before launching online.
Apple has already taken steps to manufacture products in India, partnering with Taiwanese company Wistron to make the iPhone 6S and 7 models there.
In May last year, the company said it was shortlisting sites for the first Apple India store in the commercial hub of Mumbai.
“India is a very important market in the long term,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement earlier last year. “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.”
Rushabh Doshi, an analyst at global research firm Canalys said last year that having its own flagship stores might be just what Apple needs to reinforce its premium image.
“A store just before the next launch will be the perfect timing for Apple to restart its Indian growth story.”