Apple Inc. is staffing up big in Abu Dhabi and Dubai in what will be its first retail stores in the Middle East outside of Istanbul. According to updated jobs listings posted on its website Friday, Apple is recruiting in the United Arab Emirates for several retail positions, such as creative, expert, genius and store leader roles.
Related to its recruitment efforts, it also posted a listing in March for a candidate to spearhead retail hiring efforts in the UAE. Apple doesn’t have any physical retail stores in the UAE, or anywhere in the Middle East. Instead, it sells its products through third parties and its online store. Apple's UAE online store opened in 2011.
The listings give no additional clues as to where the retail locations will be established in those cities, or when. But rumors dating back to August 2014 had the company considering Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates as a possible store location.
With a retail presence in the country, Apple would be able to meet the growing demand for its products without using third-party resellers. China has become a major market for Apple, and CEO Tim Cook has said it's just "a matter of time" before China is its largest. But Apple is increasingly looking at the rest of the developing world for profits. And when you think of vast pockets of high-end luxury consumers, the oil-rich emirates aren't a bad place to start.
“If you look in the emerging markets, our revenues were up 58 percent year-on-year,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the April earnings call. “And this accounted for just slightly less than 40 percent of the company’s revenue.” Much of this was driven by first-time iPhone buyers, he added.