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© RIA Novosti. Anton Belitskiy

Apple to open its own stores in Russia

by at 20/08/2012 18:12

Gadgets manufacturer and darling of the hipster set, Apple Computers plans to sell its products in Russia without the use of middlemen, bringing the price of its trendy equipment down.

Apple has registered a company Apple Rus and assigned Vitaly Morozko, the corporation’s local legal advisor, as its director general, Kommersant reported.

In spring 2011, when Apple top managers travelled to Moscow, they were looking for premises for Apple Store, but did not find anything.

According to an unnamed manager of an Apple distributor, the company could start direct sales in Russia in 2013, but it is unclear when first Apple Stores will open.

“Samsung and Sony have been working on direct contracts for a long time. If Apple joins them, the prices will be more affordable and the market more civilized,” said Bely Veter Tsifrovoi director general Danila Vaskevich.

Distribution partners

Apple products in Russia were distributed by the ECS company in 1996-2007. Since 2007, Apple opened an official branch in Russia that conducted its marketing activities. In 2008, they signed with its first official computer distributor – diHouse.

In November 2009, Apple acquired a new distributor in Russia – the Marvel company, and by May 2012 a third one had appeared – OSC. However, 75 percent of all Apple products are still distributed through diHouse. iPhone in Russia is distributed by Vimpelcom and MTS.

Apple Rus is likely to concentrate on distributing the equipment to Moscow and St. Petersburg retail networks, while the other three distributers will deal with the regions, a source told Kommersant. Apple Rus could also sell iPhones, as Apple is unhappy with Vimpelcom and MTS, who want the phones to be sold in their shops and are not as interested in the wider market.

Prices will not fall

“You can often hear the opinion that as soon as Apple Store comes, the prices will fall,” said spokeswoman for Re:Store Retail Group, Lyudmila Semushina. “The prices will not fall. For the majority of Apple products, apart from iPhone, we have practically the same prices as in European countries, and they will remain. The products for Russia are not bought in via the U.S.A., but via Europe.”

“The only thing that can change for the better for the consumer is that there will be a smaller delay between announcing a new Apple gadget, and its appearance on the Russian market. But we are not the first place in this market. For Apple there are three major markets: U.S.A., Europe, China, who buy many times more than Russia,” Semushina told RIA Novosti.

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