Apple CEO Tim Cook was in Mumbai on Tuesday to inaugurate the company’s first retail store in India.
“India has such a beautiful culture and an incredible energy, and we’re excited to build on our long-standing history,” Cook said in a statement.
Bloggers, tech analysts and Bollywood celebrities were invited to the opening of the new store in Mumbai’s Jio World Drive shopping mall.
About 300 Apple fans were seen lining up outside the store, some of them waiting since the previous night.
“The fanboy inside me would not listen,” 30-year-old Purav Mehta, who wanted to get Cook’s autograph, told Reuters news agency.
A second store is set to open in the capital, New Delhi, on Thursday. Cook is also expected to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and India’s deputy IT minister later this week.
The bulk of Apple’s smartphone and tablets are assembled in China, but the tech giant also has plans to expand production in India.
The South Asian country of 1.4 billion people is also the second-largest smartphone market in the world.
Apple has been operating in India for more than 25 years, and it began manufacturing products there in 2017.
According to Counterpoint Research, India produces around 13 million iPhones every year, up from under 5 million three years ago.
The tech giant has been selling its products in India online and through authorized retailers, but regulatory clearances and the pandemic had delayed its plan to open a flagship store in the country.
Indian Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said last week that Apple plans to have 25% of their global production come out of India in the next five years.
mf/nm (AP, Reuters)