More than a store opening: Apple’s big plans in India

Apple has opened its first physical store in India. Apple BKC – the name of the store – was put into operation on Tuesday. A second branch in the world’s largest smartphone market with 1.4 billion people is to be inaugurated on Thursday. The expansion in the consumer business comes at a time when the US company is in the process of relocating larger parts of its production to the country. Also, India could play a big role in Apple’s sales figures amid the toughening smartphone market.

Surrounded by hundreds of people, Apple boss Tim Cook also attended the opening in the financial trading center Mumbai. India’s second Apple Store opens in the capital, New Delhi. Cook has plenty of time for India this week. After visiting the opening, according to his Twitter account, he looked at projects for education and sports, among other things. He also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday. “We are committed to growth and investment across the country,” Cook then announced.

India is not a completely new market for Apples. The company has been selling its products there for 25 years. However, with a market share of less than five percent for smartphones, there is still a lot of room for improvement. According to analysts, Apple is hoping for growth rates similar to those in China, where the iPhone now accounts for 18 percent. In Apple’s home market, the USA, the share is over 50 percent.

Apple has also been manufacturing its first products in India since 2017. What was initially limited to local markets is picking up momentum amid ongoing US-China sentiment. In the event of an escalation, more and more tech companies are protecting themselves with punitive tariffs or other economic sanctions by withdrawing at least parts of their production from China in order to reduce their dependency.

Numbers on the production of the iPhone show how serious Apple seems. According to Counterpoint Research, the number of Apple smartphones manufactured in India has increased from three to around 13 million iPhones annually within three years. Measured against the 238 million iPhones sold worldwide in the 2022 fiscal year, this is still very little – but the Indian government assumes that Apple will relocate around a quarter of its global production to India in the next five years. The US company is therefore apparently working together with its production partner Foxconn in politics to ensure that working conditions are brought into line with those in China. According to media reports, significant easing is being sought here.

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