Apple, like most companies at the top of their game, is always seeking ways to expand its business. Recently, we’ve seen a concerted effort from the Cupertino-based outfit to capitalize on emerging markets like China and India, and just this week, CEO Tim Cook has been spotted sizing up some of the major shopping malls in the United Arab Emirates. As well as checking out authorized resellers such as the Virgin Megastore at Al Wahda Mall, Ciij also took a mosey on down to Jacky’s electronics store at the Dubai Mall, which has naturally fuelled speculation that the company plans to build a retail store of its own in the notably affluent region.

Although Apple does have an online store in the UAE, there aren’t, as yet, any physical retail outlets. With so much money changing hands on luxury goods in the likes of Abu Dhabi and Dubai – two of the seven states that comprise the United Arab Emirates – it seems only natural for Cook to be making enquiries, and if the motive behind the trip far East is as we suspect, the UAE could be getting its first official Apple Store before long.

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There are one or two other reasons why Cook could be poking around in the Emirates, such as his company’s sponsorship of the Gulf Photo Plus photo festival, but when somebody as significant as the Apple CEO is in town, there’s usually a good reason for it.

Although Apple Stores are prevalent in nations such as the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany, the company is still only just starting to build bases in other nations, and a store or two in the UAE certainly wouldn’t do the company’s booming revenue figures any harm.

In October, it was announced that Turkey was finally getting its own Apple Retail Store, and with reports suggesting that Cook will be making the trip to Istanbul this month for the opening, it makes sense to assume that his current trip in the UAE ties in with the same theme of expansion.

Here are the photos from the trip for your viewing pleasure:

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We’ll be keeping an eye out for any further news on the matter, so stay tuned!

(Sources: 7DAYSUAE [Twitter], plugins [Twitter], Anayahiam [Twitter], Jacky’s Electronics [Twitter])

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