The move is seen as an effort to increase their presence in the world’s fastest growing smartphone market.
Apple has shortlisted several sites in Mumbai for its first retail store in the country, putting the pedal on its focus on the Indian smartphone market, as per a report by Bloomberg.
The locations chosen are comparable to Apple’s iconic stores on Fifth Avenue in New York, Regent Street in London or the Champs-Elysees in Paris, it added.
The move is seen as an effort by Apple to increase its presence in the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market. After a low 2018, the company has overhauled its management and sales strategy and is focusing on India.
The company initially faced hurdles in opening stores in India after failing to meet domestic sourcing as per requirement. However, in April, Apple announced manufacturing of its iPhone 7 model here, along with the iPhone SE and 6s.
Navkendar Singh at IDC India believes local manufacturing is not going to help regain market share, which will still be low in 2019. However, the company will be able to test the manufacturing segment for its high-end models.
Bloomberg quoted Rushabh Doshi, an analyst with Canalys, "Its own retail store might be just what Apple requires 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."
Due to stiff competition from Chinese phone makers like Xiaomi, Apple's market share in India dropped from 2.4 percent in 2017 to 1.2 percent in 2018. Analysts said the company wants to make India a manufacturing and export hub, in the backdrop of US-China tensions.Local manufacturing is expected to significantly reduce the import tariff by 20 percent, making the devices more competitive. The report quoted CEO Tim Cook as calling India "a very important market in the long term" and talking of the company's plan of "going in there with sort of all of our might".