US tech giant Apple Inc is considering an investment of around Rs 1,000 crore in India soon. The iPhone maker has informed the government that it plans to establish an online selling platform as well as open three Apple retail stores across major cities in India over the next two to three years.
"There have been meetings with company executives. The first store is likely to come up in Mumbai followed by Delhi and a third location is yet undecided," a government official told the Economic Times.
This development follows the Union Cabinet's decision on Wednesday to relax foreign direct investment (FDI) norms for several sectors, including single brand retail, to attract foreign investors, and boost economic growth, promote Make in India and generate employment along the way.
The company in a statement on Thursday welcomed the government's decision and said that it planned to establish its first company-owned retail store apart from setting up its own online store in India.
"We look forward to one day welcoming customers to India's first Apple retail store. It will take us some time to get our plans underway and we'll have more to announce at a future date," Apple said.
"We love our customers in India and we're eager to serve them online and in-store with the same experience and care that Apple customers around the world enjoy," Apple said in its statement.
If things go as per the plan, you will be able to buy its iPhone, iPads and Apple Mac computers through direct online retailing soon. Currently, the company sells its products through franchisee stores and via online retail platforms such as Amazon India and Walmart-owned Flipkart Online Services Pvt.
One of the measures announced by the government on Wednesday was to allow single brand retailers to have online-only models as opposed to earlier when they were not allowed to have a digital store unless they had a brick-and-mortar presence. Many global retailers had hitherto refrained from entering India due to exorbitant real estate costs.
The Cabinet also relaxed the clause regarding mandatory sourcing from the domestic market. Earlier, companies with more than 51 per cent FDI had to source at least 30 per cent of their goods from domestic market. But now single brand retail companies are allowed to limit their sourcing in India to just 10 per cent, provided they export 20 per cent of their products to other countries.
This sourcing clause had posed a problem for electronics brands because most of its devices and components are manufactured in China. But the new FDI norms now make the world's fastest-growing smartphone market even more attractive to foreign brands.