Earlier this year it was revealed that Apple is slowly making its way towards opening its own branded retail stores in India. Apple Stores in India have been a long time coming, but now it looks like they are finally getting close. Bloomberg reports that, after filing the initial paperwork last month, Apple is on track to have its request to be permitted to operate retail stores in India approved.
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The report claims that, while a portion of the paperwork is being resubmitted due to a formatting error, the Indian government has every intention to approve the request. Although, there’s still no specific time-frame for the approval and subsequent opening of retail stores.
It appears that Apple will be able to circumvent a law in India that requires foreign companies to manufacture 30 percent of their goods in India in order to be allowed to operate retail locations. Current Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been working to open up the economy to foreign companies like Apple since he took power in 2014.
CEO Tim Cook met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi back in September to discuss the possibility of Apple increasing its presence in the country. In the meantime, Apple has been working with local retailers like Croma to build dedicated spaces within existing retail stores.
Despite the lack of a substantial retail presence in the country, Apple saw revenue in India break $1 billion last year, with CEO Tim Cook still optimistic that the country represents a huge opportunity for growth for Apple. Cook spoke of the potential India represents for Apple during a recent company-wide town hall, hinting at the company’s plans for retail stores in the country.
During the company’s Q1 2016 earnings call last month, Cook noted that iPhone sales grew 76 percent and revenue grew 38 percent in India during the quarter, explaining that India is the third-largest smartphone market in the world behind China and the United States.