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Apple chief welcomes shoppers to first Apple Store in India

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Apple has opened its first retail store in India, with CEO Tim Cook  and Apple retail chief Deidre O’Brien at the door to welcome the first visitors.

The store opened in Mumbai’s bustling Bandra Kurla Complex on Tuesday, with a large crowd showing up to witness the event. Local media reports suggested some visitors had traveled from places far beyond India’s main financial hub.

True to form, Apple’s well-trained staff did their best to whip up a frenzy among those waiting to set foot inside the new site.

A Reuters video (below) shows Cook on the door as customers pour into the store. To the CEO’s great surprise, one guy brought with him a very old Macintosh computer. Let’s hope he wasn’t expecting to trade it in.

“Apple’s first retail location in India will serve as a dynamic space where customers can come together, explore Apple products and services, enjoy exceptional service, and learn how to get more out of their devices through free Today at Apple sessions,” the company said in a post on its website.

Apple is opening a second Indian store in New Delhi on Thursday, the company confirmed, with Cook planning to put in an appearance there, too.

Customers in India wanting to purchase Apple gear have up to now shopped via the tech giant’s online store or visited resellers.

The new brick-and-mortar stores reflect an effort by Apple to push deeper into a country with 1.4 billion people and a growing middle class. It’s also the world’s second-largest smartphone market, and with 95% of smartphones there powered by Android, Apple has plenty of room for growth.

While the presence of two new stores won’t have a major impact on revenue, Apple’s decision to open physical sites there is a statement of intent, as well as a branding exercise that it hopes will bring more people into its ecosystem and win it more customers over time.

With these new stores in India, Apple now has around 525 retail sites in 26 countries after the first open opened in 2001.

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