Apple’s been trying to gain a direct offline presence in India for years, but hasn’t been able to do so because of foreign direct investment (FDI) restrictions. However, it might just go ahead and open up an online store in the country first.
That’s what a new Economic Times report is alleging. It cites two senior industry officials who state that Apple’s online ambitions don’t require FDI approval since the government allows Make in India firms to sell goods directly via a website.
Apple is likely going to start manufacturing iPhones at Wistron’s Bengaluru plant by June this year. The first device to be put together may be the iPhone SE which could also be the first to hit the company’s virtual shelves. The platform’s portfolio will likely grow as more models are manufactured at the factory.
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Apple may additionally sell a few India-sourced accessories. The brand supposedly hopes to open the doors to its online outlet at some point during the Diwali season. Over 50% to 55% of iPhone sold in the county are reportedly generated from online sales, much higher than the industry average of 30%.
Apple entering the online retail market sector may or may not affect competitors like Amazon or Flipkart. The tech giant is probably not going to engage in a price war with rivals, instead opting to distinguish itself by offering value-added services like laser engraving and exclusive models that won’t be available anywhere else.
On the offline store front, Apple may open just 4 to 5 flagship outlets in various metros over the course of the next 5 to 10 years. It’s apparently restricted by the fact that these establishments require a lot of space and marquee locations.