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Apple CEO meets Ambani, Chandrasekaran; to meet PM tomorrow

Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook, who is in Mumbai for launch of the iPhone maker’s first retail store in India on Tuesday, met titans of Indian industry on Monday, said a report.

Cook met with Reliance Industries Chief Mukesh Ambani, his son Akash, daughter Isha Ambani and Manoj Modi, director at Reliance Retail and Reliance Jio, on Monday afternoon, reported CNBC TV18.

The news channel also reported that Cook met Tata Sons chief N Chandrasekaran.

Separately, Reuters reported, citing sources, that Cook will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and MoS IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar as part of his visit to inaugurate the iPhone maker’s first retail store in the country this week.

The visit by Cook to open the first official company-owned outlets in Mumbai and New Delhi this week underscores Apple’s growing ambitions for India, where despite having just a 3% market share the company has been expanding iPhone assembly via contract manufacturers, and also boosting its exports.

On Monday, Apple opened its first store in Mumbai, but only for a private event where bloggers and some tech analysts reviewed the design and store layout. It will open to the public from Tuesday, while a second store will be inaugurated inside a New Delhi mall on Thursday.

So far, Apple has sold its products in India via resellers or e-commerce websites such as Amazon.

The Mumbai store is in the premier Reliance Jio World Drive mall, home to luxury clothing and jewellery brands like Michael Kors, Kate Spade and Swarovski. It is 20,800 square feet, far bigger than the planned Delhi outlet, local registration documents show.

Apple’s maiden retail store in the country has been a subject of great speculation since at least 2019, when the Indian policymakers warmed up to the idea of welcoming foreign direct investment in single brand retail. The permissions to allow such stores have come with riders like mandates on local sourcing in the final finished goods.

The company has leased out the space in Mumbai’s Jio World Drive mall for 11 years, and has been successful in negotiating for barring 22 competing brands, including Amazon, Facebook, Google LG, Microsoft, Sony and others, from occupying space or advertising in close vicinity. BusinessToday

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