Apple has started hiring retail store employees in India and has posted plans to take on more roles as it prepares to open its first flagship locations in the world’s second-largest smartphone market in the coming weeks. this quarter.
On Friday, Apple’s career page listed job openings for 12 different job functions it seeks to fill “various positions in India,” including technical specialist, business professionals, senior managers, store managers and “geniuses”.
Many job descriptions refer directly to top retail operations. One person said: “The Apple Store is a unique retail environment — focused solely on delivering a great customer experience.
12 listings means hundreds of job openings, as a typical Apple Store has at least 100 employees and top locations can have up to 1,000 workers.
Some functions on Apple’s website, such as “market leader”, describe management teams “across the Apple Stores”, implying that some locations are operating outside of the broader location. The widely announced 22,000 square foot will open in Mumbai in early March.
Separately, at least five employees in Mumbai and New Delhi announced on LinkedIn that they had been hired for the undisclosed stores. One announced that they had been named “Lead Genius” – a customer-facing tech support role – while another said she had been appointed as a senior manager. Apple’s head of recruitment in India, Renu Sevanthi, “celebrated” several announcements on the social media site.
Apple, did not immediately comment, has not confirmed plans to open its first store in the country. But in February 2020, CEO Tim Cook told investors that the Apple Store would expand to India next year, saying he was not content to leave retail sales to franchise partners. . “I don’t want anyone else to run the brand for us,” Cook said at the 2020 annual shareholder meeting.
Later that year, Apple launched an online store in India, welcoming online shoppers with “Namaste,” but physical stores didn’t appear.
Expansion will be important to Apple as it tries to diversify production from China and fueled its fledgling manufacturing operations in India. Supply chain experts say Apple has a “silicon to storefront” ambition to control all aspects of the customer experience — from Apple-designed chips in phones to Apple’s retail employees. Store.
Neil Shah, an analyst at Counterpoint, a market intelligence group, said: “The stars are finally arranging for Apple in India.
Cook personally visited and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015, reportedly lobbying to open an Apple Store in the country. But protectionist rules require foreign companies selling directly to consumers to source 30% of their components locally.
However, the rules have been relaxed in recent years, and in 2017 Apple suppliers started assembling iPhones in India. This allows it to avoid the 22% tax, which helps boost sales. Since then, New Delhi has encouraged smartphone makers to move more production to the country, leading to major investments from Taiwanese contract manufacturers Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron.
India’s Tata Group, which makes iPhone cases in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, plans to scale up its operations to supply a wider range of components to Apple, according to three people familiar with the company’s plans. them, which the Indian industrial group did not know. comment.
According to Counterpoint, around 200 million smartphones were manufactured in India last year, 10 times more than 2014. And while Apple’s market share in India is just 5%, it’s growing rapidly, according to Counterpoint. and led the premium segment with 2/5 of total sales.
“Since the outbreak of the pandemic, iPhone sales in India have almost doubled,” said Shah. “That is driving sales of Macs, Apple Watches, and iPads. There is a positive network effect. So Apple is paying attention to this rapidly growing market and now is the right time to enter, to invest.”
Shah said that by the end of the year, Apple India is expected to adopt a four-tier sales strategy.
This would include e-commerce sales, at least two flagship stores in the wealthiest cities, another 10 or more stores with potential partnerships with Tata, in tier cities. first and second grade, as well as growing “store-in-store” partnerships with big box retailers across the country.
Additional reporting by John Reed in New Delhi