Apple to partner with HCL to expand retail presence in India

Apple

As Apple pushes to finds its biggest market in India, the tech company is reportedly in talks to sign a deal with HCL Infosystems to expand its presence and distribute its products in retail space in India.

The deal is expected to be signed by this week, reported ET quoting three senior industry executives.

“Apple wants to focus equally on offline trade since it can expand the reach of the brand into several smaller markets where HCL will play a key role. Beyond that it is unlikely the company will want its distributor to influence pricing,” the person aware of the deal said.

At present, Cupertino-based company distributes its product through Ingram Micro, Redington, Rashi Peripherals and Beetel Teletech. HCL is known to have strong presence in distribution as it has previously handled brands like Nokia, Lenovo, Motorola, and Panasonic’s whole range covering more than 13000 retail outlets. Apple’s move will help it reach or penetrate into smaller markets in the country.

Apple’s move will help it reach or penetrate into smaller markets in the country.

HCL will also bring about pricing parity on Apple’s product, which is currently handled by Apple’s global partner, where the company had expressed its inability to control prices in absence of manufacturing unit in India.

According to sources, Apple is also in discussion with Infosys. However, when contacted, an Apple India spokesperson, said the company does not comment on speculation. Having commenced its assembling in India for iPhone SE with its partner Wistron, Apple is planning to open its store to meet India’s market requirement.

Apple’s online store plans does not require FDI approval in retail since the government allows companies to directly sell online those models that are manufactured locally. The company plans to expand local production, including the number of models, and set up a full-fledged manufacturing plant.

In India, Apple is second to Samsung in used mobiles segment with 20% of share. In 2016, older phones accounted for almost 55 percent of the 2.6 million devices Apple shipped to India. With sales down in the US and China, Apple is eyeing India and looking to set up a manufacturing unit to cut costs.

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