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Apple opening first stores in India next month

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Apple is to open its first stores in India this November, it's been reported.

It's perhaps surprising that Apple has taken this long to establish a retail presence in an emerging economy of some 1.25 billion people, but that's set to change next month.

The Times of India reports that Apple is finally going to open shops in the country, albeit in a slightly unorthodox fashion.

Apple will be partnering with Indian consumer electronics chain Croma, which will host Apple's products at six of its locations to begin with.

These won't be full stand-alone Apple Stores, then. However, the CEO of Croma parent company Infiniti Retail, Avijit Mitra, provided some reassurance as to the level of the Apple experience at these sites. "These stores will be modelled on the global design and will offer the best experience to consumers, showcasing the entire range of Apple products," he said.

Apparently, Apple isn't able to open its own stand-alone retail outlets in India because of rules relating to "single-brand foreign direct investment in retail." This way, Apple can establish a presence in the country without getting involved in messy bureaucracy.

It's believed that Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke to India's prime minister, Narenda Modi, about these prohibitive rules during a recent US visit.

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Each Apple location will be afforded 400-500 square feet of floor space in the Croma stores, and all six are set to open by Diwali on November 10.

India is potentially a lucrative new market for Apple, having sold 1.7 million iPhones in the country between October 2014 and September 2015 - some 600,000 more than the previous year.

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