New reforms by the Indian government will allow Apple Stores to open in the country
But it looks like this is a moot point now as the country introduced today some new rules on foreign investment in the country. The new regulations will allow Apple to open its retail stores in India. The news comes a couple of days after central bank governor Raghuram Rajan announced that he would not seek a second term.
The new reforms mean that Apple can take advantage of the country's newly lax rules on local sourcing of goods sold in foreign owned stores. The new rules will be in place for three years, and can be expanded to five years if the store sells items that are "state of the art." While Apple has yet to comment, India's secretary of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Rajesh Abhishek, said that India will be in touch with Apple to see if they are interested in opening Apple Stores in the country now that the regulations have been relaxed.
Last month, India rejected Apple's request to sell refurbished iPhones in India, and the new reforms do not seem to have anything to do with that decision. Also in May, Apple CEO Tim Cook met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The country will be the second largest market in the world for smartphones this year, but with a per capita income of $1500 most purchases are of budget handsets priced under $150. Apple has 2% of the market for smartphones in the country, but sales rose 56% during the second fiscal quarter. During those three months, Apple announced that iPhone sales overall dropped on a year-over-year basis for the first time in history.
With India becoming an important country for future iPhone growth, Apple hopes that opening its stores in India will increase the visibility of the Apple name.