India gives blessing to Oppo stores as focus turns to Apple
India has given Chinese smartphone maker Oppo the go-ahead to open its own single-brand retail stores, boding well for rivals like Apple Inc which are seeking similar approvals.
Oppo has become the first pure play smartphone brand to win such a clearance in the world’s number three smartphone market, where Apple has been vying for a bigger market share.
Although India allows foreign firms to sell directly to consumers through a ‘single-brand retail’ route, companies must source 30% of the products locally.
The country moved to partially relax those conditions in 2016, exempting foreign retailers from the sourcing rule for three years in a bid to attract more investment.
The Oppo decision is positive for companies like Xiaomi and Vivo, which have been trying to get similar approvals, Tarun Pathak, an analyst at Counterpoint Research, said.
And it might mean approval in the near future for Apple, whose sales in India are mainly driven by its older generation iPhones, Pathak said.
“Opening a retail store will boost Apple’s newer generation sales…it’s also the experience that having a store allows you to offer to consumers,” Pathak said.
Apple applied for store licences last year, shortly after its Chief Executive Tim Cook made his first visit to India, where it has only about three percent market share.