Apple Inc officials met the Commerce Ministry top brass about its plans to open stores in India without initially having to source components locally. According to sources, the meeting chaired by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) Secretary Ramesh Abhishek lasted for almost an hour with senior officials from Apple discussing details of the new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) rules in single-brand retail and the company's retail expansion plans.
Apple officials are believed to have sought clarity on the changes in mandatory domestic sourcing norms for single brand retail brought in earlier this year. However, no official word on the meeting was received from either side. In June this year, government had relaxed FDI norms by giving a three-year exemption from local sourcing to foreign players in single-brand retail and a five-year relaxation for 'state-of-the-art' and 'cutting-edge' technology.
India is one of the fastest growing markets for the Cupertino-based company. In the first three quarters of this fiscal year, Apple's iPhone sales in India were up 51% year-on-year.
In May this year, Apple's CEO Tim Cook had visited India and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as key industry leaders like Sunil Bharti Mittal and veteran banker Chanda Kocchar. Apple had also announced setting up of a design and development accelerator to support Indian developers creating innovative applications for iOS and opened a new office in Hyderabad to accelerate maps development.
Cook during his May visit, had discussed issues including manufacturing and setting up retail stores in the country with Modi. The FDI rules for single brand retail call for mandatory sourcing of at least 30% inputs from domestic companies.