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India lacks official Apple Store presence as Apple doesn’t operate its own brick-and-mortar stores in the 1.25 billion people market. Instead, it’s relied on carriers and hand-picked resellers to market and push its products in the country.

The Times of India said last December Apple was planning a huge retail push in the country and now comes word that the firm is working with local partners to launch as many as five-hundred ‘Authorized Mobility Reseller’ locations in twelve different cities in India.

More than a hundred of the partners have already been signed up for the Authorized Mobility Resellers (AMR) program, with more premium retailers to come on board at a later stage. AMR stores are expected to carry iPhones, iPads and third-party accessories. Some of the Indian cities that will be getting these stores include Amritsar, Pathankot, Moga, Coimbatore, Trichy, Nagpur and Nasik.

“Apple is handpicking the retailers it will work with as part of the program, with existing Apple retailers with good performance history being given preference,” according to sources.

Retailers operating these stores should “benefit from better margins” as compared to other retailers. Surprisingly enough, Apple will even allow retailers to discount iPhones, Macs and other products in an effort to expand its market share in India.

“With the launch of the AMR program, Apple is gunning for a larger share of the Indian smartphone market, confident it can achieve its objective without launching a ‘low-cost iPhone’ that many believe the company needs to make an impact in countries like India,” reads the article.

Redington and Ingram have been Apple’s key distributors in India, with the former accounting for nearly 70 percent of Apple sales in the country. Both firms supply Apple products to regional distributors, multi-product trade channels and Apple Premium Reseller stores and Apple Authorized reseller outlets.

Apple has never been a dominating brand in India despite having unofficial retail presence there since 2011. This massive retail expansion should change that while making Apple products available in more locations than ever and at lower prices, too.

Should the initiative prove a success, the model is reportedly going to be replicated in other markets as well.

Not only does the AMR program identify the cities, but the specific areas within these cities as well. A local Apple job listing for AMR Program Manager seeks an individual to help select store locations “within identified micro markets within a city.”

Chosen retailers won’t get to run these stores however they like.

Membership in the program entails the adoption of a set of strict rules pertaining to the interior and exterior design, staff training and even Apple’s choice of contractors to ensure that the stores adhere to its design requirements.

Source: NDTV Gadgets