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As India’s FDI rules get a sweeping overhaul, Apple stores (finally!!!) get green signal

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So yes, after everything Tim Cook did to make sure India takes center-stage in Apple’s sales and the overall plans ahead, the Cupertino-giant will finally be able to open up its own stores in the country. The plan though, isn’t entirely because of Cook’s visit or Apple’s repeated insistence.

It is actually India’s foreign direct investment policy, which reportedly received a much-needed, major reform on Monday. The new rules are not just beneficial for technological companies like Apple, but they also loosen restrictions on inbound investments in pharmaceuticals and retail. Also, the defence and civil aviation sectors are opening up to 100% outside ownership.

Companies undertaking single brand retail trading will get a waiver only for three years. In case the entity proves to provide products that can be considered “state of the art” and the company is exempted from local sourcing norms, it can extend its waiver by another 5 years. This wasn’t available to foreign entities until now.

Apparently, companies will now get a chance to indicate their preference under the new policy, according to Ramesh Abhishek, secretary, Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion. He added that the government is still discussing how to define cutting edge.

Other beneficiaries of the new reform include furniture giant IKEA and many others.

Apple has long seen India as a potential market. With the country being the only golden spot in the tech giant’s latest quarterly earnings, and in light of the recent ban imposed on iPhone sales in China, Apple has doubled its efforts in increasing its sales in India. Tim Cook, on his visit to India said that opening Apple stores in India is a key element of the vision for what he sees as one of the most important markets for the iPhone maker in terms of setting benchmarks for sales and service.


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