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Apple will be opening its first retail outlet in India in 2021, CEO Tim Cook has advised to shareholders, marking the iPhone maker's initial self-owned outlet in an important potential market.
Speaking to investors at the annual shareholder meeting at Apple Park on Wednesday, Cook answered a question from a shareholder about its India retail strategy. In response, Cook confirmed it will be opening its first physical retail outlet in the country in 2021.
Cook offered a further reason for opening up its own outlet, suggesting "I don't want somebody else to run the brand for us."
So far, Apple has had to rely on a network of third-party resellers to sell its iPhones in the country, without any first-party representation. Government restrictions over stores owned by non-Indian firms have caused problems with Apple's creation of an outlet, forcing the retail partnerships.
"We wouldn't be a very good partner in retail," Cook said in response to a question about India. "We like to do things our way."
The Indian government has been loosening its local-sourcing requirements, which are a prerequisite for international firms like Apple to do business directly in the country. One major rule change in Apple's favor is allowing exports to count towards the 30% local sourcing rule, which covers any iPhones or other products locally-produced by Foxconn or Wistron in the country and exported to other territories.
In October, it was reported Apple had leased a location between 20,000 and 25,000 square feet in Mumbai's Maker Maxity mall, spread over three floors. One floor is rumored to be an experience center, a second would be dedicated to retailing, and a third for the service center.
Apple is also anticipated to start online sales in India in late 2020.