Apple applies to establish its own stores in India
Apple Inc. has applied to India’s Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion to open its own stores, Amitabh Kant, secretary at the federal trade ministry unit, confirmed to several news outlets.
The application comes as the Indian government in November moved to relax the country’s stipulations that companies seeking more than 51% foreign direct investment source 30% of its products within India and that foreign single-brand companies couldn’t establish e-commerce portals. Apple now sells its wares through franchise stores in India.
Before those changes, Apple alone had been negotiating with government officials there to relax the rules, according to reports. CEO Tim Cook himself met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the two reportedly discussed introducing Apple Pay and expanding a manufacturing base there.
Apple also confirmed the application, but gave no details of its plans.
Retail sales in India are growing, and the country’s population includes major movement from rural areas to cities and a large proportion of tech-savvy, mobile-first millennials.
The country is one of the fastest-growing markets for mobile sales, but so far is dominated by cheaper Android phones, some 85% of the market.
A study from the Internet and Mobile Association of India last year found that there were 52 million new Internet users there in the first six months of 2015, bringing the country’s total user base to 352 million as of June. And of those, 213 million, more than 60%, accessed the web through their mobile devices.
For Apple, that represents a lot of potential, something it needs as its growth in China could be reaching its peak.
“I expect to see a lot of action in the next 10 years in India,” Venkat Viswanathan, founder-chairman of LatentView Analytics, told Retail Dive. “I believe we are still at a very early stage of realizing the potential of a market the size of India, and that it’s only a matter of time that India becomes an equally big part of the [business] ecosystem.”
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