Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is reportedly in talks with Iranian distributors about entering the country if Western sanctions on the country ease, says the Wall Street Journal, citing sources familiar with the matter. The report revealed that the senior executives of Apple held meetings with Iranian distributors at the company’s regional headquarters in London’s Hanover Street.
Apple’s fate in Iran depends on official decision
The iPhone maker wants its Iranian partners to sell Apple products to premium re-sellers, and these stores would be midsize outlets exclusively selling Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) products just like the stores set up in Asia and Europe, claims the report. Expansion in Iran is very challenging for a Western company, but recently a chain of contacts between Western companies and Iranian businessmen could lead Western authorities to ease some of the economic sanctions.
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Tehran wants to restart economic activities with the West that were closed due to the country’s nuclear program. European countries are taking keen interest in business opportunities in Tehran, but U.S. companies are more reluctant to make a move into the country.
Various bans such as export of spare parts for aircraft and cars to Iran were revoked in January after Tehran settled a nuclear deal with the world powers. However, various economic restrictions are still active against Iranian financial institutions, which makes it almost impossible to transfer payments into or out of Iran. Apple, however, could freely export its iPhones to Iran as the United States decided to lift the ban over selling consumer communication technologies in Iran last year.
Iran holds potential
The iPhone maker sees that Iran is a huge market with 77 million people. The population of the country is comparatively young with 42% below the age of 25. The middle-class population is also high in the country, and many well to do Iranians are still fond of Western brands even after decades of hostility between their country and West.
However, there are a lot of challenges that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will face in doing business in Iran, and one of them will be selecting partners among mobile service providers as the government has a major influence in the sector. Also, if the Cupertino, Calif., company enters Iran, it will have to compete with Asian players like LG Electronics Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.