Plans to open the first ever Apple Store in India have reportedly been delayed for a second time. The store in the capital city of Mumbai was originally set to open in 2021, before being pushed back to 2022. A further delay now sees it slated for 2023.
Apple has long wanted to open its own retail stores in India, with plans dating back at least as far as 2015, but the process has proved trickier than expected.
India has taken a clever approach to economic development, offering both incentives to establish local manufacturing plants, and barriers to imports of foreign-made products. That carrot-and-stick approach has proven successful, with companies like Apple jumping through the necessary hoops in order to sell their products to the second largest population in the world.
An India First initiative required companies to manufacture a significant proportion of their products within the country in order to avoid high import tariffs. This forced Apple, Samsung, and other companies to establish manufacturing plants in India, bringing jobs to the country.
Additionally, India does not allow company-branded retail stores unless the same conditions are met. That particular requirement was mostly intended to target Apple.
The plan worked, with Apple asking its suppliers and iPhone assemblers to establish manufacturing plants within India. Initially, that was just for the iPhone SE, but more advanced phones have gradually been added, including the iPhone 13 earlier this year.
Apple Store India plans delayed
The first physical Apple Store in India was set to open last year, but the company pushed its plans back to 2022 after the country was badly hit by the pandemic.
India’s Economic Times reports that the opening has now been further delayed to the first quarter of next year.
The opening of Apple’s flagship India retail store has been delayed further, with the iPhone maker aiming to debut its first company-owned outlet in the country in Mumbai in the January-March quarter next year.
The reasons are attributed in part to pandemic-related issues such as interior fitting and other supplies getting delayed due to the squeeze in shipping, they said.
The store should be worth the wait, however. It’s expected to open in Mumbai’s upscale Jio World Centre (above photo), and is intended to be one of the most spectacular Apple Stores in the world.
Apple is developing the store as a retail landmark in India, similar to outlets known for their design and architecture in Los Angeles, New York, Beijing, Milan and Singapore.
A second store is planned for the Select Citywalk mall in New Delhi, and in both cases the Apple Stores will be very prominent fixtures.
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