Image: An Apple Store in Shibuya, Japan. Flickr user Dick Thomas Johnson // CC 2.0 License

Apple’s India focus in retail, was supposed to get a push through opening up of its self-owned stores across the country. That however, has been delayed for ever so long, despite repeated media reports of a final debut anytime soon. However, for Apple lovers looking to experience the Apple retail experience in India, the wait finally seems to be getting over.

According to a new report by The Financial Times, the iPhone maker has begun recruitment for the staff for its first physical stores in India. Currently, the tech titan has a dozen live job listings for brick-and-mortar stores at “various locations” across the country.

According to corroboratory posts on LinkedIn, at least five people have confirmed that they have been hired to work at Apple’s upcoming physical stores in India. One of them announced that they had been named a senior manager, while another said that they have been named a “Lead Genius.” This development also comes alongside media reports that suggest that the Cupertino-headquartered company is expected to launch not one, but two retail stores this year. The stores are expected to be opened in Mumbai – a 22,000-square-foot location – in March 2023, and in New Delhi in April. The one in New Delhi is said to be 10,000-12,000 square feet.

Apple already launched its online store last year in September, where customers had an avenue to purchase products directly from Apple. Not only did this save them from having to go through an authorized premium reseller, but the online store also offered them a full range of Apple products and accessories, shopping assistance from Apple Specialists, financing options, a trade-in program for iPhones, and more.

It also comes at a time when Apple is looking to reduce its supply chain dependence on China and shift more of its production to India. In this regard, it already began assembling the iPhone 14 series in the country last year, and according to recent media reports, the tech behemoth exported over $2.5 billion of iPhones from April to December 2022.

So far, the job listings at what the company calls the “Apple Store” seek technical specialists, business experts, senior managers, store leaders, and “geniuses.” The job descriptions refer directly to flagship retail operations, and according to more functions on the official Apple website, Apple is looking to set up physical stores at more locations across the country.

It is unsurprising that Apple has ambitions that are not limited to launching just two retail stores in one of its key markets. The opening of its physical stores in the world’s second-largest internet and smartphone market has encountered multiple delays – first because of the pandemic and later again last year. Now, it is set to launch two physical stores within a span of a few weeks, provided this does not get yet another delay.

A physical shop by Apple in India is nothing new, especially since Apple CEO Tim Cook and other Apple executives have remarked on the importance of India several times in the past now. With its first physical store in the country, the iPhone maker’s push to have a broader retail presence in the Indian market will get a boost, which currently relies on below-par experience at third-party reseller stores. It will also enable Apple to have a greater slice of the pie than the Indian smartphone market, which is one of the largest in the world and largely dominated by Chinese companies like Xiaomi and Vivo.