Local sourcing rules may still block Apple Stores from expanding into India

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Apple may not have secured permission to open its first stores in India after all, though the company has not been shut out of the process, a report said on Tuesday.

India's Foreign Investment Promotion Board has ruled that Apple must follow rules requiring it to procure at least 30 percent of parts locally if it wants to sell through a single-brand store, sources informed Bloomberg. Apple was seemingly set to be granted an exemption, but the FIPB decided that it will not be approved.

The company's remaining chance lies in the fact that the FIPB's ruling must still be ratified by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, the sources said.

On Saturday Apple CEO Tim Cook concluded a tour of India by speaking with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Retail stores were one topic of discussion, and Cook may have tried to sway Modi and his administration into granting permission. Reports have suggested that Apple is already hunting for real estate, and planning to launch three stores within the next 18 months.

Apple's main assembly partner, Foxconn, is looking into building an Indian manufacturing plant. Until then, Apple will have no manufacturing footprint in India, leaving it unable to meet local sourcing requirements.