First three Indian Apple Stores rumored to launch by end of 2017

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Apple is working to introduce its first three retail stores in India within the next 18 months, setting up shop in Delhi, Bangalore and Mumbai, a report said on Monday.

Each location will occupy 10,000 square feet, and require investments of $3-5 million apiece, a source told FactorDaily. For the past few months a team of 40 executives has allegedly been working on the project from an office in Gurugram — despite this, the hunt for real estate is said to be ongoing.

A second source meanwhile said that Apple is planning to launch a local startup accelerator geared toward iOS development. An announcement will allegedly be made on Tuesday when CEO Tim Cook visits the country.

The Indian government only recently approved Apple's entry into the local retail world, letting the corporation skip rules that normally require a foreign company running a single-brand store to source 30 percent of its goods from domestic suppliers.

The Indian market has been a tough one for Apple, at least in terms of its chief product, the iPhone. Despite a recent sales surge the device has just a two percent marketshare, something normally attributed to the high cost of iPhones relative not just to people's wages but other smartphones. Most phones in India are under $150, but new iPhones can often be three or more times that cost. To compensate, Apple has kept some models on sale well past when they would've been taken off shelves in other countries.

Poor retail distribution has also been blamed. First-party stores could help alleviate the situation, even if they won't drastically alter the market.