Apple has confirmed it will open its first retail store and also an online store in Indonesia, after it filed an application letter with the the country’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM), receiving permission to begin selling its products direct to consumers.
NZWeek reports that the BKPM announced the approval of Apple’s application earlier today, which will see Apple initially open an online sales presence and then look to open its first Apple Store in Indonesia’s capital city, Jakarta.
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According to officials, Apple will invest between $2 to $3 million in the venture, contributing towards the development and opening of its first store. This will assist the company in strengthening its retail presence in Asia, but also to provide a direct sales channel for locals, who have previously resorted to importing Apple products from Singapore or ordered via an authorized reseller.
Interestingly, it’s not the first time Apple has operated an online store in Indonesia. Apple began selling online between 2008 and 2010, but the company shut it down over shipping irregularities which began showing in November 2010. Around three months later, Apple suspended operations but kept the site online to promote products and indicate pricing (as well as a way to direct customers to authorized resellers). However, in almost all cases, the prices listed on the site ended up being much lower than actual prices on reseller stores.
Apple itself suggested it would be looking to open online and physical stores, placing job openings for three positions based in Indonesia, back in June 2012. At the time, the vacancies on Apple’s site included an iPhone channel manager, a CES (consumer electronic stores) manager, and a Jakarta-based account manager for iPhone/iPad carrier, but required employees to first be stationed in Singapore for an initial 3-6 month period.
In December 2012, Apple expanded its iTunes Store by launching in 56 new countries. This included Indonesia, and meant the country’s 240 million inhabitants gained access to a range of video and music content, with payment options in its local currency.
Apple may also have been tempted to push ahead with its expansion following the announcement that one of its major suppliers — Foxconn — would spend $1 billion to develop a factory there, but also to possibly invest as much as $10 billion to yield a Silicon Valley-style tech hub. However, development appears to have been halted after Foxconn could not agree terms with local officials.