Apple has begun its recruitment drive in India, as the tech giant looks to open its first flagship stores in the country. Job listings have been posted on the company’s career page, advertising openings for 12 different roles, including technical specialist, business expert, senior manager, and “genius”.
These listings suggest hundreds of job openings are available, as each Apple Store usually employs at least 100 people, with flagship locations potentially employing up to 1,000 staff. These stores are expected to open as early as this quarter, as Apple looks to tap into the lucrative smartphone market in India.
As Apple continues to hire for its upcoming retail stores in India, it appears that the tech giant has plans to open multiple locations in the country. Some job listings on the company’s website, such as “market leader,” describe managing teams across various Apple Stores.
In addition, at least five employees in Mumbai and New Delhi have announced on LinkedIn that they have been hired for Apple’s yet-to-be-announced stores in the country. These announcements have been “celebrated” by Apple’s head of recruiting in India, Renu Sevanthi, on the social networking site.
While Apple has not officially confirmed its plans to open stores in India, CEO Tim Cook previously stated in 2020 that the company would be expanding to the country the following year, expressing a desire to run the brand directly rather than relying on franchise partners.
Apple’s plans to open physical retail stores in India have been a long time in the making, with CEO Tim Cook visiting the country and meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 to lobby for the company’s entry into the market. Despite launching its online store in India in 2020, physical stores have yet to materialize. However, the company’s recent hiring efforts suggest that this may soon change.
The expansion would be significant for Apple, as it looks to diversify its manufacturing base away from China and to give momentum to its fledgling production operations in India.
Industry experts have noted that Apple has a “silicon to storefront” strategy, aiming to control all aspects of the customer experience, from the Apple-designed chips in its devices to the retail staff in its stores. However, protective rules requiring foreign companies selling goods directly to consumers to source 30% of their components locally have presented a hurdle for Apple’s entry into the Indian market.
Apple’s plans to enter the physical retail market in India are supported by the company’s growing manufacturing presence in the country. In 2017, Apple suppliers began assembling iPhones in India, allowing the company to avoid tariffs and boost sales. The Indian government has also given incentives to smartphone manufacturers to shift production to the country, leading to investments from companies such as Foxconn, Wistron, and Pegatron.
As a result, India’s smartphone production has increased significantly, with around 200 million smartphones made in the country last year, compared to just 20 million in 2014, according to market intelligence group Counterpoint. While Apple currently only holds a 5% market share in India, it is rapidly growing and dominates the premium segment, with a 40% share of all sales.
“Since the pandemic, the number of iPhones sold in India has almost doubled,” said Neil Shah. “That’s driving sales of Macs, Apple Watches and iPads. There’s a positive network effect. So Apple is noticing this fast-growing market, and now is the right time to enter, to invest.”
Apple is reportedly planning to implement a four-layer sales strategy in India by the end of this year. This strategy will consist of e-commerce sales, at least two flagship stores in major cities, and potentially 10 or more other stores in partnership with Tata in tier-one and tier-two cities.
The company is also expected to expand its “store within a store” partnerships with large retailers across the country. These efforts demonstrate Apple’s commitment to establishing a strong presence in the Indian market, where it has experienced rapid growth in recent years and currently holds a leading position in the premium smartphone segment.