CUPERTINO – Apple CEO Tim Cook announced his company would open its first physical Apple Store in India in 2021, and that the company would launch its own online store later in 2020. These were rare announcements, coming as they did during this week’s Apple shareholder meeting in Cupertino.

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Mr. Cook’s comments came in response to the eighth question from shareholders during the Q&A portion of the shareholder meeting, as a shareholder asked specifically about Apple’s plans for growth in the world’s second most populous country. Apple has found the Indian market hard to get a toe-hold in, in part because of India’s cellphone industry’s reliance on small, local stores for selling devices. Multinationals like Apple haven’t been allowed to operate in the same manner as they do in the rest of the world.

To that end, Tim Cook said that Apple has been working to get government approval to open its own retail store. We’ve long known Apple was trying to do so, but the announcement the company had succeeded, and would open its own store in 2021, was new. Mr. Cook expressed optimism about Apple’s prospects in this country.

It’s not known if the rising tied of ethnic and sectarian violence that included an anti-muslim riot by Hindu nationalists later in the week would affect Apple’s plan.

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