Apple (AAPL) Plans to Open Exclusive Stores in India: Report

Apple (AAPL) is considering the possibility of setting up its own stores in India, the Economic Times reported Monday, citing two unnamed senior executives who have a business relationship with the iPhone-maker in India.

Currently Cupertino gets its products to the Indian market where demand for IT products continues to grow at a steady pace, through partnerships with local technology distributors like Redington (India) and Ingram Micro.

Apple might be able to open stores in India, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, if the government allows the U.S. company’s tech outsourcing operations in the country to be included as part of the mandatory 30% local sourcing requirement for foreign retailers, one of the executives was quoted as saying to ET.

“Undoubtedly, Apple is interested in setting up its own stores now that the demand for its product has increased. But it wants some flexibility in the 30 per cent sourcing norms. At present, it does not buy anything from India nor is it likely to source anything immediately, apart from IT services,” the executive said, requesting anonymity.

One of the executives also said that the growing popularity of iPhones and other Apple products in India was prompting the company to explore the option of increasing its engagement with the country.

A spokesman for Apple in India said “we don’t comment on rumors and speculation.”

It’s understandable why Apple may want to set up stores of their own in India. The potential for expanding its footprints is huge with India’s 1.2 billion people. There are also more than 121 million Internet users in the country, a number that is expected to triple by fiscal 2015 as a result of increased internet penetration and affordability for personal computers. Apple may also want its own Indian stores for better control and distribution. But as mentioned above, the stiff sourcing norms set by the Indian government will probably continue to hold them back.

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