Apple's chief executive Tim Cook said the company would open its first physical stores in India in 2021 and a online outlet later this year.
Apple had to seek special approval from the Indian government to open a store without a local partner. The announcement was made at the company's annual shareholders' meeting. Investors at the meeting also voted on a proposal that the firm should alter how it responds when governments ask it to remove apps from its marketplace. Though the measure wasn't approved, it failed by a slimmer margin then similar proposals in the past. Apple's move into India, the second largest smartphone market in the world, has been expected for some time, but the announcement of a date was new.
Apple sells its products through third-party stores in India at the moment. But its sales lag competitors Samsung and Huawei. With demand for Apple products slowing in China - even before the outbreak of Coronavirus - the firm is hoping it can spur growth in other developing markets like India.