Apple plans 100 stand-alone stores in India, including store-in-store locations in small cities


Apple has told India’s top retailers it plans to open 100 locations in India during this fiscal year. The meeting Monday was held by Apple’s top India executives who have tripled the iPhone maker’s team targeting the burgeoning smartphone market.

The plans outlined include entering the top 50 markets in India, selling phones, tablets and other branded gear. The report, from the Economic Times, follows a news earlier this year that Apple wants to increase three-fold its number of India franchise stores to 200, up from 65…

In the meeting with 20 CEOs and senior executives from India’s top telecom and electronics retailers, Apple senior execs “spelt out plans to enter the top 50 tier II and III markets in India by selling its phones, tablets and portable music players at their outlets in an exclusive corner or a shop-in-shop,” reports the Times, citing three people who attended the meeting earlier this week.

“Apple wants to set up 100 exclusive standalone stores under the franchise model in smaller markets. It’s scouting for franchise partners and has made proposals to some of the multi-brand retail chains,” the report goes on. Although Apple hasn’t established any firm deadlines, the company wants to roll out the stores this fiscal year.

Although today’s story doesn’t mention any official Apple Stores headed to India, the report echoes a report back in March that Apple wants to triple the number of franchise stores from the current 65 by the end of 2015. Apple this year has made great strides in entering a market which Samsung largely controlled and consumers felt ignored by the tech giant. Along with increasing its ad campaigns, Apple has changed its sales methods, adopting payment plans and discounts to attract India’s consumers now just catching the smartphone bug. As a result, the Cupertino, Calif. company has seen India sales triple and the country becoming a larger market opportunity.

Some of Apple’s added traction in India may be the result of hiring two former AOL and BlackBerry employees to head up that nation’s operations. Maneesh Dhir and Sanjay Kaul have in the three years since coming aboard Apple tripled the number of Apple people in India to more than 150. The two have also “strengthened the Apple exclusive stores network, shortened the gap between launch of new models overseas and in India and spearheaded the company’s thrust on iPhones,” writes the Times.