India is set to open its first Apple stores this week, making good on CEO Tim Cook’s dedication to placing the country front and center of the company’s plans.
Apple will open its first India retail location in Mumbai on April 18 and its second in Dehli on April 20, called Apple BKC and Apple Saket, respectively. The company’s commitment remains so strong that Cook plans to preside over the openings in-person, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
"These new retail locations mark a significant expansion in India that will offer great new ways to browse, discover, and buy Apple products with exceptional service and experiences for customers," the company wrote in a press release posted April 10.
Apple BKC will open with an event series called "Mumbai Rising," which will run from the opening day until the summer. The event will connect artists and creatives in "hands-on activities with Apple’s products and services."
The events will include sessions focused on photography and video recording, helping attendees learn how to make the most of the iPhone’s apps and hardware to get the most out of their products.
There will also be tutorials on music production, game design and art, as well as skills tutorials for using other apple products such as the Apple Watch and iPad.
Cook claimed he was "bullish" on India during an earnings call in early February while Apple announced its plan to build on an already 2 billion-strong global presence, according to Foreign Policy.
"India is a hugely exciting market for us and is a major focus," Cook said. "We are, in essence, taking what we learned in China years ago and how we scale to China and bringing that to bear."
The company doesn’t simply want to make India a new major market for Apple products, but the hub of productivity as well. India already accounts for 7% of iPhones produced for the U.S.-based company, marking a shift for Apple as it seeks to decrease its reliance on China for production.
Apple had relied heavily on China for over a decade, but a mix of China emerging as the newest U.S. bogeyman and continued aftershocks from the supply chain issues caused by China’s zero-COVID policies has made it difficult to maintain the relationship.
Instead, Apple will turn to India, the world’s fifth-largest economy. India presents many of the same qualities in terms of technological literacy and industrial capacity that made China so attractive for so long.
But companies may wait to see how Apple fairs before following along into the market. Darrell West, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Center for Technology Innovation told Foreign Policy that Apple is a "bellweather."
Apple did not respond to a FOX Business request for comment by time of publication.