Apple is hiring in India as it prepares to open its first flagship stores

Apple has begun hiring retail store staff in India and has announced plans to fill a host of other roles as it prepares to open its first flagship locations in the world’s second-largest smartphone market as early as this quarter.

On Friday, Apple’s career page listed openings for 12 different job roles it is seeking to fill “various positions in India,” including technician, business expert, general manager, store manager and “genius.”

Most of the job descriptions relate directly to frontline retail operations. “The Apple Store is a retail environment like no other – uniquely focused on delivering amazing customer experiences,” says one.

A typical Apple Store has at least 100 employees, and flagship locations can have as many as 1,000, so the 12 listings mean hundreds of jobs.

Some features on Apple’s website, such as “market leader,” describe management teams “among Apple Stores,” suggesting several locations are in the works beyond the 22,000-square-foot space set to open in Mumbai in early March.

Separately, at least five employees in Mumbai and New Delhi have posted on LinkedIn that they are hiring for yet-to-be-announced stores. One reported being named a “Lead Genius,” a customer-facing tech support role, and another named a general manager. Apple’s head of recruitment in India, Renu Sevanti, has “announced” several announcements on the social network.

Apple, which did not immediately comment, did not confirm plans to open its first stores in the country. But in February 2020, CEO Tim Cook told investors that the Apple Store would expand in India next year, saying he was not content to leave retail operations to franchise partners. “I don’t want someone else to run the brand for us,” Cook said at the 2020 annual shareholder meeting.

Later that year, Apple launched its online store for India, greeting online shoppers with “Namaste,” but physical stores failed to emerge.

The expansion would be significant for Apple as it seeks to diversify manufacturing away from China and boost its fledgling manufacturing operations in India. Supply chain experts say Apple has a “storefront silicon” drive to control all aspects of the customer experience — from the Apple-made chips in its phones to Apple Store retail staff.

“The stars are finally aligning for Apple in India,” said Neil Shah, analyst at market intelligence group Counterpoint.

Cook reportedly personally met and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015, lobbying to open an Apple Store in the country. But protectionist rules require that foreign companies selling goods directly to consumers must produce 30 percent of components locally.

However, the rules have been relaxed in recent years, and in 2017, Apple suppliers began assembling iPhones in India. This allowed it to avoid the 22 percent tariffs that helped boost sales. New Delhi has since given incentives to smartphone makers to move more production to the country, resulting in major investments by Taiwanese contract manufacturers Foxconn, Wistron and Pegatron.

Tata Group, which makes iPhone cases in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu, plans to expand its operations to provide a wider range of components for Apple, according to three people not familiar with the Indian industry group’s plans. commented.

According to Counterpoint, about 200 million smartphones were manufactured in India last year, which is ten times more than the number accumulated in 2014. Although Apple’s market share in India is only 5 percent, it is growing rapidly and leads the premium segment with two-fifths of all sales.

“The number of iPhones sold in India has almost doubled since the pandemic,” Shah said. “It boosts sales of Macs, Apple Watch and iPads. There is a positive network effect. So Apple sees this rapidly growing market, and now is the right time to get in, to invest.”

Shah said that by the end of this year, Apple India will have a four-pronged sales strategy.

This will include e-commerce sales, at least two flagship stores in its most affluent cities, 10 or more other stores in potential partnership with Tata in tier-one and tier-two cities, as well as store-within-a-store partnerships. big box retailers nationwide.

Additional reporting by John Reed in New Delhi

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