Mumbai: Apple Inc could open its 1st stores in India and might eventually start manufacturing in the country under new overseas investment rules for retailers outlined on Monday.
The new rules exempt foreign retailers for three years from a requirement to source 30% of the goods sold in company-owned stores locally.
That would allow Apple, which currently sells its iPhones, iMacs and iPads through resellers, to set up its own shops in India, ending months of uncertainty for the California-based company that had first applied for store licenses in January.
India is the world`s fastest growing huge smartphone market with sales expected to rise over 25 percent this year.
For Apple, which has lower than a 2% share in the smartphone market in the country, gaining a bigger footprint in India is crucial at a time when growth in China and the United Stae has stalled.
The announcement was part of a sweeping reform of rules on overseas direct investment, which also opened up the defense and civil aviation sectors to full foreign ownership.