Apple might open stores in India thanks to relaxed rules

The country is loosening its requirements on local sourcing, and that's a big deal for the iPhone maker.

Reuters/Shailesh Andrade

Apple might not have to bend over backwards to open stores in India: the country has loosened its rules on locally-sourced products in a way that gives foreign companies a shot. First-party retailers (that is, those that mostly sell their own products) will have a 3-year grace period where they don't have to sell at least 30 percent products that are locally made. They can extend that window for another 5 years if they show that they're making advanced tech that benefits from the relaxed rules -- in other words, Apple. In theory, this gives outsiders a chance to get their local manufacturing in gear at the same time as they build up their brand.

The tech giant will have to apply for retail access again, and there's no guarantee that it'll pass muster. However, the terms appear to be tailor-made for Apple, whose CEO went on an extensive tour of India in May. The Indian government may have decided that allowing an official retail footprint for Apple and its kind would help the economy more than insisting on local manufacturing from the get-go.