About 25 years after first entering the South Asian market, Apple is making news this week by opening its first physical location there. Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple, is in the nation and has scheduled meetings with the Prime Minister of India, Mukesh Ambani of Reliance, Natarajan Chandrasekaran of Tata Group, and other well-known businessmen.
A group of over a dozen bloggers who had been flown in for the event received an early glimpse inside Apple's BKC store in Mumbai. A second retail branch is slated to open in New Delhi on Thursday after the store's official opening to the public today.
The opening of Apple's first brick-and-mortar locations and the company's intensified attempts to produce iPhones and other products in India highlight the significance of the South Asian market to the Cupertino, California-based tech giant. Apple is anticipated to increase its production capacity in India to create 25% of all iPhones by 2025, according to analysts at JP Morgan.
The company's enhanced output is already showing signs of success. According to market analysts, Apple sold smartphones from India worth more than $5 billion in the fiscal year that ended in March, accounting for over half of all exports from the nation.
"At Apple, our mission is to enrich lives and empower people around the world," stated Cook in a statement on Monday. "India has such a beautiful culture and incredible energy, and we're excited to build on our long history -- supporting our customers, investing in local communities, and working together to build a better future with innovations that serve humanity," says the company.
One significant stakeholder, Apple's customers, has yet to fully reap the rewards of these initiatives.
Apple products, including the iPhone, remain unreasonably expensive in India despite local iPhone manufacturing and the company's contract partners profiting from New Delhi's significant incentives. This action has surprised analysts who believed Apple would pass on the advantages to buyers.
As an illustration, consider the iPhone 14 Pro base model. Although it costs $999 in the United States, it retails for more than $1,550 in India. Of course, the iPhone 14 is not the only example. In India, the second-generation HomePod, which sells for $299 in the United States, is $400, which is a significant premium above the first-generation HomePod.
Official iPhone cases cost around the same as some of the most popular Android cellphones in the nation. 98 percent of the local smartphone market is controlled by Google's Android, according to market research firm Counterpoint.
Numerous well-known Apple services, like News+, Fitness+, and Apple Pay, are still unavailable to users in India. The Indian market does not offer the Apple Card or the savings account option that it does in the United States. Indian users have less functionality from Apple Maps and Siri. (In India, Google Pay and Walmart's PhonePe are the market leaders in mobile payments.)
In spite of feeling like second-class clients, millions of Indian shoppers nevertheless buy Apple products. Although Tim Cook's visits to India once every five years are notable, they haven't had a significant impact on the nation's Apple fans.