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A report back in February that Apple would be allowed to open retail stores in India has been corroborated by India’s Economic Times. India normally doesn’t allow single-brand retail stores unless at least 30% of their products are made within the country, but Apple is reportedly set to be granted an exemption on the grounds that its products are ‘cutting-edge technology.’

A government panel has recommended exempting Apple from mandatory local sourcing norms, a move which would pave the way for Apple to open single-brand retail stores in the country. “The committee has found that the company’s products are cutting edge technology and state-of-the-art. It has recommended to exempt them from the local sourcing norms,” sources said.

The exemption is a pretty big deal for Apple …

CEO Tim Cook met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi back in September where the two discussed ways for Apple to increase its presence in the country. While the panel’s recommendation means the company is almost there, it does still need to be approved by the Finance Ministry.

Although India is currently a relatively small market for Apple, the WSJ reporting that Apple shipped around 1.9M iPhones to the country last year, Cook said during the recent earnings call that the country had huge future potential.

I sort of view India as where China was seven to ten years ago from that point of view. I think there’s a really great opportunity there.

Apple looks set to face plenty of competition from Chinese brands, however: both Xiaomi and LeEco have also filed applications to open their own retail stores in India.

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