India to waive regulatory hurdle blocking Apple retail launch, report says

in General Discussion edited April 2016
Apple fans in India might soon be able to purchase their new iPhone directly from an official Apple Store, as local government officials are reportedly prepared to waive a longstanding regulatory hurdle that prohibited the company from operating its own brick-and-mortar retail shops.

Apple representatives met with a government committee led by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion Secretary Ramesh Abhishek on Tuesday, arguing for a special exception to a rigid Indian trade policy, The Times of India reports.

The Indian government mandates foreign companies marketing a products from a single brand source at least 30 percent of goods sold within the country from domestic suppliers. In Apple's case, the 30 percent would have to be accounted for in components used to manufacture devices like iPhone and Mac.

India late last year relaxed policy limitations, saying sourcing restrictions can be waived for "state-of-the-art" and "cutting-edge technology." Sources told the publication that Apple's products likely meets government requirements and are therefore candidates for a waiver application.

Sweetening the pot, Apple hinted at plans to expand production in India, which is currently limited to certain device chargers. As is true for any developing market, becoming a cog in a major tech company's supply chain would give India's economy a significant boost.

Finally, the committee asked Apple whether it intends to sell refurbished iPhones in the region, a down-market strategy the company was rumored to be working on as recently as March. Officially, however, Apple said it has no immediate plans to launch previously owned devices in the country.

Apple has long been rumored to be plotting an Indian retail debut, with reports in February saying government officials were ready to fast-track the company's application. Most recently, reports in March claimed Apple was looking for an ideal location for its first Indian flagship store, as well as satellite outlets serving major metropolitan areas.

The publication said a final decision on Apple's policy waiver application will likely be announced in a matter of days.


  • Reply 1 of 6
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 33,408member
    Would be nice, plus if Apple could start pitting Indian manufacturing and assembly against Chinese manufacturing and assembly, the result could be quite beneficial for Apple.
  • Reply 2 of 6
    This is HUGE! 
  • Reply 3 of 6
    macarenamacarena Posts: 365member
    This isnt really big from a sales stand point - because Apple products are anyway available at most major electronics retailers. However, I believe this is just one more step in Apple's increasing focus and commitment towards India. And if this is followed up by actual production in India, then it will be a big booster for Apple. But while Apple should think of manufacturing in India, there are far cheaper and far more valuable things that Apple can do in India. As a simple example, while WWDC is on in the US, a parallel track in Bangalore would be an awesome way of engaging with the large iOS development community in India. It would cost Apple absolutely nothing, and probably Apple can even make some money doing this. It would be dirt cheap to hire a venue, and do live streaming of the important events of WWDC, and have a few Apple experts available to answer people's questions. If they had done the iPhone SE launch in India, it would have given them much better visibility and mileage. And would probably work out cheaper to do this in India!
  • Reply 4 of 6

    I'd love for Apple to own it's own stores in India. I don't see an immediate benefit for Apple, since I expect they'd still have to pay import duties for all that they sell, which means it will not become cheaper to own Apple products.

    But getting a foothold in will be a huge step in the right direction.

  • Reply 5 of 6
    MacProMacPro Posts: 19,428member
    I have visited a few Apple Stores in other countries and am always impressed with the architectural selections.  In the tradition of using an existing, elegant building in each country  can someone who knows the area post images of the sort of buildings that Apple might choose?  I have a mental picture of a Taj Mahal type structure although obviously not on that scale.
  • Reply 6 of 6
    cnocbuicnocbui Posts: 3,613member
    There will be some people in India who will be watching this one closely, I would think:

    China could slam door on Apple, says top global risk expert

    Apple may find itself eventually shut out of China, a leading expert on global political risk to corporations said Monday.

    Funny timing, they day before an earnings report.

    edited April 2016
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