Apple is planning to grow its presence in India over the next year by expanding the number of Apple Authorized Reseller locations, with the addition of over 100 small stores believed to be a six-fold increase in the number of outlets already in operation in the country.
The new Apple Authorized Resellers will be approximately 450 to 500 square feet in size, according to the Economic Times, and will be set up over the next year. Partnering with other companies, these franchised operations will be set up on "high-rental, high-street locations" in large cities, two senior trade sources of the report claim.
Trade partners are apparently already setting up the stores, with the first batch including places in New Delhi and areas of the National Capital Region, such as Vasan Vihar and Malviya Nagar. Other cities including Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune, and Chandigarh will also see reseller openings in the future.
The use of resellers could be seen as an easier way for Apple to get more of a foothold in the country. While Apple does not yet operate its own store, partnering with existing companies to set up Authorized Reseller outlets helps Apple create a network of outlets, operated by people who know the local market, without the expense of setting up its own location.
While Apple is still keen to open its own store, having previously raised the possibility of setting up retail outlets with local officials, the iPhone producer has looked for other ways to increase its revenues in the region. Earlier this month, the iPhone 6 went on sale exclusively through Amazon, with the revived smartphone offered with an unusual 32 gigabytes of storage, similar to sales in a few other markets.
Apple has also floated the idea of selling refurbished iPhones in India, providing more modern generations of the mobile device to the population at a low cost, to try and combat the high sales of cheap Android smartphones. So far, the government has pushed back on this idea, fearing that this could flood the market with cheap and used goods, and undermining its "Make in India" program to boost local manufacturing efforts.
It has also been suggested the used phone sales were one of a number of conditions for Apple to start manufacturing new iPhones in the country, along with tax breaks and other requests. The government has yet to make a decision on the matter.
Progress to start production in India has been slow, with Apple partner Foxconn thought to be close to a deal to build a new manufacturing plant in Maharashtra. Another contract manufacturer, Wistron, is reportedly preparing to start production of the iPhone SE in its Bengaluru plant in April.