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Tim Cook welcomes customers as Apple’s first India store opens doors in Mumbai

Apple CEO Tim Cook and Deirdre O'Brien, Apple's senior vice president of Retail and People greet people at the inauguration of India's first Apple retail store in Mumbai, India

Apple CEO Tim Cook launched the US tech giant’s first India store in Mumbai today and welcomed enthusiastic customers, many of whom had lined up since early morning to be among the lucky few to gain entry.

Cook himself welcomed the first customers to the Apple store and posed for selfies as the company seeks to strike a deeper connection in the fast-growing Indian market.

Located at Reliance Jio World Drive Mall in Mumbai Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC), the 20,800-sq ft flagship store will provide a space for customers to come together, explore Apple products and services, and buy them.

After the opening of the Apple BKC store today, Apple will open its second flagship store at Select Citywalk Mall in Saket, New Delhi, on April 20.

Tim Cook will also meet India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and its deputy IT minister during his current visit.

The Narendra Modi government has given a big push to electronics manufacturing in the country and offered billions of dollars in productivity-linked incentives to attract Apple’s manufacturing partners like Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron Corp.

Cook’s visit comes at a time when Apple is eyeing India’s vast market potential and looking  for an alternative manufacturing base outside China.

The trip comes seven years after the CEO’s maiden visit in 2016 and coincides with the world’s most valuable company hitting important markers: India sales of iPhones reaching all-time high and annual iPhone export from the country reaching billions of dollars. Apple is betting on India to diversify its assembly operations beyond China amid strained Beijing-Washington relations.

As of September, Apple accounted for 40 per cent of the premium segment smartphone sales in India ahead of arch rival Samsung.

Apple in a blogpost said the two 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 iPhone maker said.

The company opened its Indian online store in 2020. India is the world’s second-largest smartphone market and among the fastest-growing.

Tim Cook had in a recent Apple conference call said the company had set “a quarterly revenue record and grew very strong double digits year over year” in India.

He had also said that the country was a major focus for Apple and he was “very bullish on India.”