Apple will launch its first online store in India next week, the Silicon Valley giant said on Friday, hoping to cash in on the country’s festive season and grow its tiny share of the booming market.

Apple is a small player in India, where sales of its smartphones lag those of South Korean rival Samsung, with the iPhone maker pricing itself exclusively at the luxury end of the market.

It is a renewed push into India which comes as Asia’s 3rd-largest economy has hit a record slump due to a covid19 lockdown. October is usually the busiest shopping season in India, with stores offering discounts and freebies to customers looking to spend money on big-ticket items as they celebrate popular Hindu festivals including Dussehra and Diwali.

Apple’s online store will open for business on September 23, will offer “a range of affordability options” including discounts on Macs, iPads & tech accessories for students, the company said.

Shoppers will be able to get their AirPods, iPads & Apple Pencils engraved in English, Hindi, and a range of other Indian languages.
Apple currently sells through third-party retailers in India including Amazon, and the country is seen as a huge potential market for the firm due to its giant 1.3 billion population and relatively low number of smartphone owners.

The company has only a two percent share of the Indian market, according to industry estimates.

An application to open Apple Stores in India in 2016 was reportedly rebuffed because of a rule that states foreign retailers must source 30pc of their products locally.
Rules are relaxed by India to giving companies up to eight years to fulfill the sourcing requirements, as a part of a push to attract foreign investment and create jobs.

Smartphones, including the iPhone 11, are assembled at facilities operated by Taiwanese manufacturers Foxconn and Wistron in the southern Indian cities of Chennai and Bangalore.

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