India expected to finally green-light Apple stores

At long last, Apple may soon be able to set up shop in India.

India’s government is expected Wednesday to approve a three-year exemption to certain rules that would clear the path for the iPhone maker and potentially some of its rivals to open their own branded stores in the country, according to Bloomberg. Although Apple offers its smartphones and other devices in India, it currently does so through retail partners, not through its own stores.

India requires retailers that only offer a single brand of goods and are more than 51 percent foreign-owned to acquire 30 percent of the materials used to manufacture the goods they offer within the country. But the rules allow the government to give exemptions in case of “state of the art” technologies. India’s various government ministries have been debating for months about whether Apple should be granted an exemption and for how long.

India is the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market, and Apple’s sales there have been growing apace. But the company has only a tiny portion of the market and has been eager to boost its presence there through its own stores.

The exemptions that are likely to be approved by the cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi may benefit not just Apple but China’s Xiaomi and Leshi Internet Information & Technology, both of which have asked for similar exceptions.

Photo: Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook leaves the Taj Mahal Palace hotel in Mumbai on May 18, 2016, where he announced a new app design center in the country. (Punit Paranjpepunit/AFP/Getty Images)


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