Apple CEO Tim Cook toured China and India last week, and judging from the photos taken of him, it seems like he made some long-lasting memories.
But there was one episode outside New Delhi last Friday he’d likely rather forget: According to the Economic Times, Cook had a moment at a store in Gurgaon where he pointed to what was apparently an Apple-branded iPhone case and wondered out loud if it was “counterfeit.”
Turns out, the case was real. From the story:
When Tim Cook visited an Apple retail store on Friday at Galleria market in Gurgaon, he raised concern over a ‘counterfeit’ accessory. Officials of Apple India and functionaries at the retail store went into a tizzy as Cook demanded an explanation right on the spot.
To relief of the India team and the supplier, the accessory — a turquoise-coloured iPhone cover — was found to be original. Cook thought it’s fake as the colour and the different packaging is perhaps not sold in the US or some of the other markets.
The episode underscores Apple’s challenges in India as it hopes to turn the country into another major market for iPhone sales.
One issue in India, apart from low brand awareness, is that the distribution network is not as robust as it is in other countries, such as China. Apple sells through “authorised dealers” in India, but the lack of a strong network of retailers means that certain stores might see fake knockoff Apple products as a quick route to a buck.
That’s part of the reason Apple wants to open its own stores in the country — to give Indians a reliable place to buy iPhones as well as increase brand awareness around the country.
In fact, the location Cook visited does not show up when you search for certified shops around Gurgaon on Apple’s website.
The case Cook mistook for a fraud may have been this model that was phased-out in the United States, but the dealer in India might have had leftover stock — and given the prevalence of fake Apple goods in both China and India, it’s a justifiable error.
Here’s what the scene looked like:
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