At its annual shareholder meeting, Apple‘s CEO, Tim Cook, said the company is planning to sell iPhones in India through its own online store this year. He also added that the first Apple store in the country will open in 2021.
According to reports last August, the company was originally planning to inaugurate its physical store this year in Mumbai. While Cook didn’t provide a timeline for the launch of the online store, TechCrunch noted last month that the tech giant could start the service by Q3 of this year.
While Apple has relied on third-party resellers to distribute its devices in India until now, Cook doesn’t “want somebody else to run the brand for us.” He also added that the company likes to do things in its own way, and wouldn’t be a good retail partner.
The CEO said he’s optimistic about what Apple could achieve in the country:
I’m a huge believer in the opportunity in India. It’s a country with a vibrancy and demographics that are just unparalleled.
Apple hasn’t been very successful in India, given its a market where sub-$250 phones make up the majority of the mobile device market. However, the company registered rapid growth in the premium segment last year, thanks to the popular iPhone 11 and discounts on older models.
While the Cupertino-based firm has started producing phones in India, it hasn’t made a large difference in price. With the online store, it might be able to offer better financing plans and bundles, and compete more closely with premium Android phone brands.