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Indian government ready to push through approval of local Apple Stores - report

The Indian government is said to be preparing to fast-track approval of the country's first Apple Stores, detouring normal rules about foreign ownership.




Because Apple is "a provider of cutting-edge technology," the company will likely be allowed to bypass regulations which demand that foreign firms selling a single brand —versus general-purpose retailers which sell numerous brands under the same roof —acquire 30 percent of their products' components from Indian suppliers, a source informed Bloomberg. As a formality, Apple is said to have had to resubmit its approval request due to a format problem with the initial submission.

Despite recent and generally successful pushes into the Indian smartphone market, Apple still controls just a 2 percent share, well under leaders Samsung (26 percent) and Micromax (16 percent), or even Lenovo (9 percent). Although this is partly because the high cost of a new iPhone —beyond the reach of most Indians —Apple has also struggled to build a reseller network that can compete with rivals.

Official Apple Stores could help boost sales, although the company will likely have to continue a policy of offering steep discounts on older phones to grow marketshare.

Apple's performance in India has lagged well behind the similarly large —but far more economically advanced —Chinese market, where the company is well on its way toward a goal of 40 stores by mid-2016. Last month, CEO Tim Cook said he's hopeful the Indian business environment will improve, and that he's aiming to increase investment in the country.