According to a report by the India Times, Apple plans on rapidly expanding the number of stores that will be opened in India over the next 2 years. The report says that Apple is going to triple the number of exclusive stores in India by 2015. The goal is to hit around 200 exclusive stores in India by that time. The India Times cited 3 Apple franchisee sources in India. Currently Apple has 17 franchisees that operate stores exclusively selling their products. These stores are known as Apple Premium Resellers.
In the past, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that they have had difficulty increasing their market share in India. Their current market share in India is only a single-digit percentage of handset sales last year. Apple blamed the low market share on the complex process of distributing products there. The cost of distribution in India is very high also.
Another major issue is that the Indian government requires that all foreign retailers source 30% of their product sales from local companies. This means that 30% of the products that are sold in Apple’s stores must have come from an Indian partner. This is why Apple has been working with franchisees for their Premium Resellers program.
Currently there are over 65 exclusive Apple stores in India that is managed by franchisees. Reliance Retail is Apple’s largest premium reseller in India. Apple’s expansion plan to hit 200 is ambitious, but can be realistic.