Apple may finally get clearance for stores in India

India has liberalized rules for foreign companies to set up retail stores

Apple may finally get clearance to set up its stores in India, following the Indian government’s decision Monday to liberalize rules requiring local sourcing of some products sold in foreign-owned, single-brand stores.

The iPhone maker operates in the country through third-party owned, exclusive stores run by partners like Imagine, in addition to selling through retail chains and online e-commerce websites. But Apple considers the design and layout of its own stores a key element of its branding and retail experience.

The Indian government, in a statement Monday, said the local sourcing requirements, which had been a hurdle for Apple to get clearance for its own branded stores, have been relaxed for up to three years. The new rules include a relaxed “sourcing regime” for an additional five years introduced for “entities undertaking single-brand retail trading of products having ‘state-of-art’ and ‘cutting edge’ technology."

The government could not be immediately reached for details of the new scheme.

Local authorities had earlier required that foreign-owned, single-brand retailers source 30 percent of their products locally but had indicated it could waive that rule for vendors of hi-tech products. Apple had applied for such an exemption but the proposal was opposed by the country’s Finance Ministry.

Apple will probably now apply under the new rules, which would give it a better chance to get clearance for the stores. The company could not be immediately reached for comment.

India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said in May that her ministry did not oppose a waiver of the retail rule to high-tech companies like Apple and would discuss the matter with the Finance Ministry. The new rules appear to be a compromise worked within the government, in which some sections are opposed to trading only in imported products and in favor of requiring their local manufacture.

A number of smartphone vendors have started making their products in India and Apple's CEO Tim Cook is said to have spoken of the "possibilities of manufacturing and retailing in India" during a recent meeting with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The company has not, however, announced plans for making phones in India.

Another Apple proposal, to import and sell low-cost refurbished phones in India to price-sensitive users, has not been cleared. Sitharaman had said her ministry was not in favor of the company’s plans for the import of the refurbished phones. The proposal had earlier been criticized by the Environment Ministry, which was worried that the phones would be close to their end of life and pose a recycling problem.

Apple sees India as a big opportunity for the company as its iPhone sales grew 56 percent year-on-year in the fourth quarter in the country, though from a small base and mainly older products, even as its worldwide phone sales dipped.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?