updated 02:05 pm EDT, Tue October 9, 2007
10 Apple Stores in India
India telecom giant Reliance landed an exclusive retail relationship with Apple: Reliance Retail announced a $19.3-billion agreement with the Cupertino-based company to build a series of iStores that would showcase both Macs and iPods and eventually the iPhone. The first store, which will be officially dubbed "iStore by Reliance Digital," is expected to open by the end of October-end in Banglore, the "Silicon Valley" of the second most populous country. Closed on Monday, the deal is the first exclusive relationship with an international brand for Reliance Retail and also a first for Apple, according to the report.
The Economic Times (of India) reports that this is the first time Apple is teaming up with corporate partner for distribution anywhere in the world. The iStores, the report says, would be standalone retail locations that would sell Apple products ranging from Macintosh computers to iPods and later, once it's launched in India, the iPhone.
Earlier this year, Apple formed a partnership with PC Vendor Wipro Infotech to expand its business presense in the country. Wipro reportedly created a new specialized team to address the market for Apple's range of products, and said that the entity will address target enterprise as well as small & medium businesses (SMB) markets.
Already under construction, the first iStore in India will be opened just before the annual Christmas-like national holiday of Diwali and will be over 2,000 sq ft.
The report says that the Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Retail will open a total of 10 iStores by the end of the calendar year and that Apple would invest in market development. Apple has few resellers in India but no company-owned store, according to the Times.
While the deal is expected to give Apple an immediate presence and several retail and distribution points, the stores are also expected to help grow the Reliance Digital brand. As the consumer electronics chain of the retail division, Reliance Digital has only opened a single store earlier this year in the NCR.