Tim Cook, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Apple Inc, will visit India to inaugurate the company's first stores, reflecting their interest in the country as a potential growth market and manufacturing hub.
Sources familiar with the matter told Bloomberg that Cook is expected to be present at the launch of two new Apple stores in Mumbai and New Delhi.
Apple announced plans to open the Mumbai store on 18 April and the New Delhi store on 20 April.
The Mumbai store will be located in a mall in the Bandra Kurla Complex, with the New Delhi store set to open soon after, in the Saket neighborhood.
India's regulation requires global brands to source a significant portion of goods domestically to open own-brand outlets, resulting in the long-awaited opening of the two Apple stores.
However, the company launched its Indian online store in 2020.
Seven years after the CEO's first visit in 2016, Cook is coming to India now as the company hits important India milestones. The country saw record iPhone sales and annual iPhone exports worth billions of dollars.
India is also the world's second-largest smartphone market and one of the fastest-growing.
With Beijing-Washington relations strained, Apple is relying on India to expand beyond China for its assembly operations.
During Apple's earnings call, the CEO emphasised India's significance as both a market and production centre.
"India is a hugely exciting market for us and a major focus," Cook said on the call. "I'm very bullish on India."
Apple has also reportedly sought a meeting between Cook and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which might take place between the two store inaugurations.
The Indian government has been pushing for electronics manufacturing and is offering incentives to attract manufacturing partners like Foxconn and Pegatron.
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