Apple’s path to setting up retail stores in India has just got easier. The government announced plans to ease rules in single brand retail, which would benefit foreign companies such as Apple. The Cupertino-based company has been discussing plans to set up Apple Stores in India since 2016. However, its efforts have faced roadblock due to local sourcing norms. With Budget 2019, it could get easier for the iPhone maker to set up its own retail stores in the country.
Apple won’t be the only beneficiary of this announcement. Chinese smartphone makers such as Xiaomi and OnePlus will also be able to open their own stores in India. During her Union Budget 2019 speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that FDI inflows into the country have remained robust despite global headwinds. She added that local sourcing norms will be eased for FDI in single brand retail sector.
“Global FDI flows slid by 13 percent in 2018 to $1.3 trillion from $1.5 trillion, as per the world investment report. India’s inflows remained strong at $64.37 billion marking a 6 percent growth over previous year. I propose to further consolidate the gains in order to make India a more attractive FDI destination,” Sitharaman said.
“Apple should be celebrating this. If anything, this makes is easier for them to ramp up their timelines for an India store,” Rushabh Doshi, Research Manager at Canalys told ET.
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“This will be a big boost for Apple which is looking to expand in India and retail expansion is a strategic move which has already delayed by couple of years,” Tarun Pathak, Research Director at Counterpoint Research told the publication. Pathak added that the companies like Xiaomi, OnePlus, Samsung, Oppo and Vivo will also be able to expedite their plans to open retail stores.
Earlier this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook said that India manufacturing and retail remains top priority. There were also media reports stating that the company is set to choose location for its first retail store. The first Apple Store is expected to start in Mumbai. Apple has already making iPhone 6S, iPhone 7 and iPhone X locally in the country. Foxconn, Apple’s contract manufacturer, is expected to begin making iPhone XS and newer models at its Chennai factory soon.