Apple Inc to launch its online store in India on September 23, the iPhone maker said on Friday, coinciding with the country’s holiday season that brings some of the biggest sales for retailers every year.
Apple sells its products in India through third-party vendors and e-commerce operators such as Amazon.com Inc’s Indian unit and Walmart Inc-owned Flipkart.
The tech giant’s iPhones are coveted by tens of millions of Indians but their price keeps them out of the reach of many.
Chinese companies dominate the world’s second-biggest smartphone market, with Apple accounting for just 1% of the total shipments.
Through its online retail platform, Apple plans to offer assistance to customers in English and Hindi, while allowing users to personalise some devices, including iPads, with engravings, it said.
The website will also allow Mac customers to configure their laptops according to their needs.
The move is expected to severely hit retailers.
Apple is building its first company-run retail store in India, in the financial capital of Mumbai, with plans to launch in 2021.
India offers huge growth prospects for device makers and competitive labour costs for electronics manufacturing.
Apple assembles some of its smartphone models, including the iPhone 11, at Taiwanese contract manufacturers Foxconn and Wistron’s plants in south India.
Foxconn plans to invest up to $1 billion to expand a south India factory where it assembles iPhones.