Apple Goes ‘Indianized’: Tim Cook Opens Mumbai Store with Local Touches

Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, is set to welcome customers at the iPhone maker’s first store in India, which is scheduled to open in the BKC business district of Mumbai on Tuesday. This store opening comes as Apple celebrates 25 years of its presence in India, and fans around the world are known to queue up to become the first customers at iconic Apple stores. It will be existing to be see how the people of Mumbai going welcome the store on a regular working day.

A media preview was held at the store on the eve of the opening for customers. The store spans over 20,000 square feet and is spread across two floors. Following the Mumbai store opening, Apple plans to launch a similar store in New Delhi’s Saket on April 20. Reports suggest that Cook will also be meeting with India’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

Cook shared his enthusiasm for Apple’s enduring presence in India and the chance to provide support to customers, invest in local communities, and collaborate towards a brighter future through innovative solutions that benefit humanity. He further shared a picture on Twitter of himself with Apple employees at the Mumbai store, saying, “Hello, Mumbai! We can’t wait to welcome our customers to the new Apple BKC tomorrow”.

Deirdre O’Brien, Apple’s Senior Vice President for Retail, told reporters that the company had given significant attention to its key beliefs of sustainability and inclusivity in the design of the store. She highlighted that the 100-strong team at the store would be able to speak 18 different Indian languages. Furthermore, nearly half of the staff at the store, including the leadership, are women, showcasing Apple’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The Mumbai store is located in a prime real estate corner of a sprawling mall that houses other luxury brands such as Diesel, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, and Swarovski. While many store features are similar to other Apple stores worldwide, Apple has also incorporated local influences to “Indianize” the facility. For instance, the store’s facade is inspired by the iconic black and yellow “kaali-peeli” taxis, a common sight on Mumbai roads. The store also plays an eclectic mix of music rooted in the city, such as the popular song “Mumbhai” from the movie Bombay Boys released in the late 1990s.

O’Brien shared that the store has an 8-meter tall ceiling, including the upper floor, with a specially made staircase leading to the upper floor featuring 14-meter long, single-piece glass walls on either side. The walls inside the store are adorned with stone from Rajasthan, and the ceiling walls feature 450,000 pieces of timber.

The store will offer a range of products, merchandise, and services, including gadget repairs and customer education on optimal product usage. Similar to other Apple stores, there are long wooden desks with specially built sensors that trigger the opening of switches.

Apple’s entry into the retail market in India has been highly anticipated since at least 2019, when the Indian government allowed foreign direct investment in single-brand retail. However, such permissions come with mandates on local sourcing of finished goods. Apple was reportedly considering a space in central Mumbai before finalizing the current location, which is owned by a company led by Mukesh Ambani, the richest Indian and a long-time distributor of Apple products.

The Mumbai store has been leased for 11 years from Jio World Drive mall, and as part of its negotiations, Apple has secured measures to prevent 22 rival brands, including Google, LG, Microsoft, Sony, Amazon, Facebook and others, from occupying nearby spaces or advertising nearby.