The Indian government has relaxed its FDI norms for single brand retail, which would enable Apple to launch its iconic stores in the country. “It has now been decided to relax local sourcing norms up to three years and a relaxed sourcing regime for another five years for entities undertaking Single Brand Retail Trading of products having state-of-art and cutting edge technology,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement announcing new relaxations in FDI norms. Also Read - Apple's plans to launch retail stores in India reportedly hit a roadblockAlso Read - 'Exactly the right time' for Apple to focus on India: Tim Cook
Apple had approached the Indian government to launch its own retail stores in the country and sought to be exempted from the local sourcing norms under the ‘state-of-art’ and ‘cutting technology’ category. While the DIPP had approved Apple’s application, it later got stuck with the FIBP which struck down Apple’s claims for being exempted from the local sourcing norms. Also Read - Apple may open Apple Stores in India without the 30 pc domestic sourcing norm
Unlike other smartphone brands, which have started assembling phones under the government’s Make in India project, Apple imports all its products from China. Though its OEM partner Foxconn has facilities in India, Apple does not seem to be in any hurry.
“We are looking at India as a partner across, not just for any one area. Manufacturing is something logically we will look at. It is something we will look over time,” Apple CEO Tim Cook had said in an interview on the sidelines of his maiden visit to India last month.
According to the new FDI norms for single brand retail, Apple and any other brand would automatically be exempted from local sourcing norms for three years, even if they do not classify under ‘state-of-art’ or ‘cutting edge’ technology category. In case the brand does qualify under that category, it will be exempt for another five years.
Apple has also applied to the Indian government for importing and selling refurbished iPhones. The government has not accepted that application, yet.