Apple files government application to open Apple Stores in India

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Apple fans living in India might soon be treated to the Apple Store experience, as the company this week filed an application to open its own branded outlets in the South Asian country.

Secretary of India's Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), Amitabh Kant, confirmed to the Economic Times on Wednesday local time that Apple's proposal was "just received" and is currently under review. India's recent decision to relax direct foreign investment regulations likely played a role in Apple's filing, as the company no longer faces strict product procurement and online sales rules, the report said.

The confirmation comes after years of rumors and speculation concerning an official Apple retail presence built to serve India's burgeoning marketplace. In October, the iPhone maker was said to be in talks with electronics chain Croma over a potential store-within-a-store concept to bolster regional operations, while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met with Apple CEO Tim Cook to discuss potential investment opportunities in September.

Through its current network of authorized resellers, Apple last year crossed the $1 billion sales mark in India for the first time, according to data published by Registrar of Companies in November. For the three-month period ending in March 2015, sales were up 44 percent year over year, while net profits doubled.

As part of its global strategy, Apple is looking to expand into areas exhibiting a rise in middle- to upper-middle class earners, China being a prime example. Earlier this month, AppleInsider was first to report an upcoming push into Latin America that will see flagship and satellite Apple Stores open in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Peru. The report was confirmed by Apple three days later.