At Apple's annual shareholder meeting in Cupertino, California, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook has revealed that the company is planning on opening its first retail store in India next year (via CNET). In addition, Apple intends to launch an online marketplace for the Indian market this year.
Apple currently sells its products in India through electronics chain Croma, courtesy of an agreement signed in 2015. That is because the tech giant is prevented by the country's rigid local-sourcing customs from building its own retail stores there. For years, Cook has been seeking approval from Indian government officials to ease up on this policy.
"I'm a huge believer in the opportunity in India. It's a country with a vibrancy and demographics that are just unparalleled."
Cook also told shareholders at the meeting, held in the Steve Jobs Theater, that the company won't be "a very good partner of retail" as it likes to do things its way. Shareholders also re-elected Apple's seven board members and approved its executive compensation scheme.
The plan may bode well for the future of Apple's growth as India has become the second-largest smartphone market in the world ahead of the U.S. and behind China, according to a Counterpoint Research report. The research notes that 158 million units were shipped to India last year with seven percent year-over-year growth.