India has given Apple the go-ahead to open branded retail outlets in the market, with the US firm planning a launch in 2021.
Apple’s only access to the Indian market thus far has been via third-party sellers. While the market has a huge amount of potential for Apple, it has been unwilling to explore a retail partnership with a local provider, and has been pressing the government for permission to set up Apple Stores in India since 2017.
CEO Tim Cook noted to the company’s shareholders: “We needed to get approval from the government to go in there ourselves.” Under the new arrangement, Apple will also be able to begin selling online in the market.
Apple has been manufacturing iPhones in India since May 2017, with around 25,000-50,000 iPhone SE units being assembled each month. The vendor needed to meet certain criteria for local production and content provision before being allowed to open retail stores in India. This resulted in Apple lobbying for reduced import taxes on device components.