We’ve been hearing conflicting reports on whether or not Apple will be allowed to open retail stores in India ever since Tim Cook met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi last September. A new Bloomberg report suggests that Modi may be about to finally give the go-ahead.
While India is currently a very small market for Apple, Cook has repeatedly described the country as the next China. The huge population and growing middle-class means that India has enormous future potential for Apple, but a law has so far prevented the company from opening official Apple Stores there …
All companies wanting to open single-brand stores in India are required to source at least 30% of their products locally, a condition Apple cannot currently meet – until a planned Foxconn factory opens. An exemption is available for companies using ‘cutting-edge technology,’ and it was reported in April that Apple would qualify.
That report was contradicted the following month, when it was said that Apple had failed to satisfy the government that it met the requirements for the exemption. A month later, we had two further reports, suggesting that Apple would, after all, be allowed to take advantage of the loophole. Bloomberg today cites sources saying that Prime Minister Modi is finally ‘clearing the way’ for the necessary approvals.
Modi’s cabinet on Wednesday is likely to approve a three-year exemption on local-sourcing requirements for foreign single-brand retail companies with “cutting-edge technology,” according to the people, who asked not to be identified due to rules for speaking with the media. At the same time, the government will make it easier for companies like Apple to meet that criteria, the people said.
Chinese Apple clone-maker Xiaomi is also expected to benefit from the same exemption.