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

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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.