According to real estate sources, Apple has picked a 25,000 square foot location for its first retail store in India.
As predicted, Apple appears to have leased the square footage for a retail store in Mumbai's Maker Maxity mall. The lease encompasses between 20,000 and 25,000 square feet in the Bandra Kurla Complex, spread over three floors.
"This COCO (company-owned, company-operated) store will be at par with Apple stores in Hong Kong that are in the range of 20,000 to 25,000 sq ft," a source told the Economic Times. "The Mumbai flagship store will be on three levels - one floor dedicated as experience centre, another floor for retailing and the top for service centre."
The same report says that "fitouts have started" and imports of fixtures and other staples of an Apple Store have already begun. Full establishment and construction is said to take between eight months and a year.
At present, the largest franchise store in India is 8,000 square feet, also in Mumbai.
When asked for comment on the matter, Apple repeated a statement it made in August.
"We love our customers in India and we're eager to serve them online and in-store with the same experience and care that Apple customers around the world enjoy. We appreciate the support and hard work by Prime Minister Modi and his team to make this possible and we look forward to one day welcoming customers to India's first Apple retail store," Apple reiterated. "It will take us some time to get our plans underway and we'll have more to announce at a future date."
The India government has loosened local sourcing requirements that are a prerequisite for large international companies to do business directly in the country. The biggest rule change that applies in Apple's case is allowing exports to count towards a 30% local sourcing rule. In essence, any iPhones or other Apple products that Foxconn or Wistron build that is exported to other countries counts toward the 30% sourcing mandate.
Around 100,000 iPhones are reportedly being exported per month at present. Previously limited to the iPhone 6s and iPhone SE, production of iPhone XS family models has recently started in the country. It isn't clear when or if Apple will start manufacturing the iPhone 11 in the country.
Beyond the Mumbai store, now seemingly confirmed, Apple is reportedly still considering flagship stores in New Delhi, Bangalore — other locations where most of India consumers wealth is centered. This is in addition to the Apple Authorized Reseller expansion that Apple was said to be examining.