Apple's plans to open its own single-brand store in India haven't been a secret. Despite keen interest to establish a direct contact with its customers in India, Apple has met with obstacles such as the mandatory domestic sourcing policy and lack of local vendors to supply goods within the country. But it now seems like the iPhone maker is a step closer to opening its retail stores in India as it has convinced the government to relax the local sourcing policy.
According to a report by the Times of India on Friday, Apple made an impactful presentation to the committee led by the industrial policy and promotion secretary Ramesh Abhishek on Tuesday, seeking a special provision from the government on the relaxation of local sourcing. The decision is expected to be announced in the next few days.
"Their (Apple) products certainly meet the requirement for waiving the local sourcing clause (sic)," a source told the TOI.
Apple rested its argument on the basis of bringing state-of-the-art and cutting-edge technology, which wouldn't be possible if the government refuses to waive off its policy. The Cupertino-based tech titan has been trying to open its retail stores in India for quite some time now, but a change in FDI norms last November placed the company on a fast track. Earlier, it was mandatory for any foreign company investing more than 51% in a local firm or joint venture to source 30% of its products from within the country.
Earlier this year, Apple had filed an application with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) in order to open its first chain of Apple Stores in India. The company has reportedly planned on some of its stores' design in prime locations. According to a report in March, the company would open stores in Mumbai, Bengaluru, Pune and the National Capital Region (NCR), resembling the landmark store in Fifth Avenue, New York.
Apple hasn't commented officially on the matter. International Business Times, India has reached out to the company for a statement.
As per the TOI report, Apple indicated that it may start producing in India in the future and said it had no immediate plans to sell refurbished phones in the country, which was met with strong resistance from India's leading smartphone makers such as Samsung and Micromax. The company did not reveal any budget set for its retail stores in India.