Apple plans to dramatically expand the number of stores it'll allow to be opened in India over the next couple of years.
According to the India Times, Apple is planning to triple the number of "exclusive stores" in the country by 2015. The India Times' sources, who currently run some of Apple's exclusive stores, say that the iPad maker will have around 200 of those locations around India by 2015.
Apple operates its stores a bit differently in India than in, say, the U.S. In India, Apple has found 17 franchisees that operate stores that exclusively sell its products. Those stores, called Apple Premium Resellers, have been popular destinations for the people in India who want to buy the iPhone maker's products.
In addition to upping the number of exclusive stores, the franchisees told India Times, Apple could expand the number of big-box retailers that sell its products around India.
Apple's India push comes as the companyin a country that could prove to be an important battleground in the coming years. Apple CEO Tim Cook has acknowledged his company's difficulties gaining market share in India -- it accounted for just a single-digit percentage of handset sales in the country last year -- and blamed most of it on the complex process of actually distributing products to India. That process adds extra costs the company must account for.
Chief among the issues could be India's law that requires all foreign retailers tofrom local companies. In other words, 30 percent of the products sold in Apple's own stores must have come from an Indian partner. For a company that relies on China-based companies like Foxconn to produce its devices, that's a problem.
Apple's solution, therefore, has been to work with franchisees for its Premium Resellers initiative. And it appears it will be doing so even more in the future.
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