Apple is on track to open its first official stores in India, reports Bloomberg, citing a person familiar with the matter. After Apple had to re-submit its application requesting retail presence in the country due to formal problems, the Indian government is said to be pushing it through without issues.
The source cited by Bloomberg also says Apple should qualify as a provider of cutting-edge technology, which would exempt the company from a rule forcing foreign businesses that retail a single brand to procure 30% of a product’s inputs locally. That would be a challenge for Apple, since it manufactures most of its devices in China.
iPhones accounted for about 2% of the smartphone market dominated by Samsung, Micromax Informatics, and Intex Technology, which together account for roughly half of the market, according to Counterpoint.
Despite having only 2% of the market, Apple was the third-largest brand by revenue, because of higher product prices.
Cook is hunting for fresh sources of growth after Apple last month forecast a sales decline for the first time in more than a decade. India now has the world’s fastest-growing major economy and about 220 million smartphone users. The challenge is that Indian consumers tend to prefer cheaper devices, leaving Apple with only about 2 percent of the market.
Apple CEO Tim Cook met with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi last September when Modi visited the US to discuss various topics, such as inviting Apple to start manufacturing in India. With Apple’s application for retail presence going through at an accelerated pace, the company seems to be ready to grab growth opportunities in a country that is home to 1.3 billion people.