On his last trip to America, PM Narendra Modi met with Apple CEO Tim Cook. The purpose of the meeting was to chalk out a strategy with regards to Apple’s growth plans in India. We had written a post about that meeting and among the things we mentioned, the one that got us really excited was this:
The Apple Stores will soon open in India!
We now have official confirmation of this news. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (under whose purview falls single brand retail) has confirmed that Apple India has filed an application to open its own branded stores here.
Amitabh Kant, Secretary at DIPP, said earlier yesterday, “We have just received Apple’s proposal. We are examining it.”
Changes in FDI Policy
Apple’s decision comes in light of a series of regulatory changes that the Indian govt has made in FDI policy. The two most relevant changes to us would be —
- Single brands can now sell products online directly. Just like in the western countries, any brand can now open its own unique store/outlet in India. Meaning Apple will no longer have to depend on third-party distributors.
- The government also relaxed mandatory local procurement condition for high-tech companies. This was a stipulation that said at least 30% of raw materials needed for manufacturing must be procured from within India. That limit has now been lowered, and Apple seems pleased with it.
Apple’s new marketing strategy
It’s also interesting to see this news in context of Apple’s current strategy for India. Apple’s recent push to gain market hold in India has been quite aggressive. As a result, Apple has seen unprecedented growth in the last year itself.
However, it still hasn’t gained enough presence in this market heavily dominated by Samsung. Even local brands like Micromax are way ahead of Apple in terms of market share. The Android ecosystem is still the most dominant force in India.
The hard truth
The data clearly show that it is going to be a long and hard battle for Apple here. It will have to break down the price barrier as well as the ecosystem barrier. And while an Apple Store by itself is not enough of a solution, it will certainly go a long way in bringing the authentic brand Apple to the Indian customer.
As for us, we’re just really kicked by the idea of having our very own Apple Store in India. And if they turn out as fancy as some of the stores we’ve seen abroad, we’re in for a grand treat!