Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook has said that the company will open its online store in India in 2020 followed by the first Apple-branded physical store by 2021.
Cook was responding to a question by one of Apple’s shareholders about the company’s plans for India during the company's annual shareholder meeting in California.
“We needed to get approval from the government to go in there ourselves” rather than with a domestic partner, Cook said. “I don’t want somebody else to run the brand for us, he further added.
Cook did not reveal the exact timeline of the store launch during the meeting. However, the announcement does confirm Apple stepping its foot in India’s online market this year.
The Cupertino-based tech giant has been in talks with the Indian government for quite some time over subsidies and easing of import duties before opening its own stores in the country.
Apple was previously expected to launch its first online store in India between January and March, i.e. Q1 2020. The decision was made after the Indian government eased Foreign Direct Investment regulations in August 2019.
Reports in January started emerging about Apple postponing its online store plans for India, citing logistical issues.
The company was said to be working on the issues thereby delaying the launch of its online store further.
Cook is expected to visit India between June and July 2020 to take stock of the India business, including an expansion of its manufacturing plans, exports, and rollout of both company-owned online and brick-and-mortar Apple stores.
Cook has repeatedly stated that India is a key market for Apple. The company’s latest iPhone, the iPhone 11, along with the iPhone XR has helped Apple made a 41 percent growth year-on-year (YoY) in Q4 of 2019.
(With inputs from Reuters)