Judging by Apple’s recent real-estate moves, it looks like the biggest Apple Store in the world might just open up here in India! But we’ll have to wait until 2020 at least.
One of the industry executives told ET:
“Apple wants to initially set up two stores, one in New Delhi and [a] second one in Mumbai. They want the stores to be truly iconic right from the design to the location. However, getting desired space will take time since 10,000-15,000 square feet of prime location is not readily available.”
Of course, it’s being “difficult” for them to find a space for such a large Apple Store. Have you seen Indian cities? Delhi and Bombay, in particular. A paan-waala would have a hard time finding some real estate space in CP or on Necklace Road.
But before all that, there’s another hurdle Apple needs to cross.
The government’s stand on FDI is not very clear with regards to Apple. Meaning that the exact nature of permission granted (or withheld) by the government is not known. Apple is still in talks with the government for getting a full and final green light for setting up a physical Apple Store in India.
Meanwhile, Apple will go ahead with opening online stores.
Apple is likely to start selling their products directly from their Apple India website much before they open an actual physical store. For one, opening an e-commerce site is so much easier than constructing a building. For another, online stores are not in any murky legal waters. There’s a clear mandate permitting Apple to start selling their products online, so they can start doing that tomorrow if they want.
Time is of the essence.
While we like that Apple is making such grand plans for India, we would like to point out in the same breath that Apple cannot linger on for too long as the competition is mounting up. Samsung, Oppo, Vivo, etc, all have their own official stores in India. And their number is only growing. So Apple had better make a move soon, or risk being left to play catch-up!