Apple Inc is poised to start online sales of its devices in India within months, a person familiar with the matter said, benefiting from new rules making the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market more attractive to foreign brands.
On Wednesday, India eased rules that forced companies such as Apple to source 30% of their production locally — a requirement the iPhone maker has been lobbying against for years — to include exports as part of the requirement.
Apple has not previously been able to sell its devices in India due to foreign investment rules and regulations.
Currently, it sells through franchisee stores and via online retail platforms such as Amazon India and Walmart-owned Flipkart Online Services Pvt.
Now that the rules have changed, Apple is also set to begin opening up retail stores in India in the future and already has retail locations in the works.
However, Apple has an insignificant share of the India’s booming smartphone market as its high prices and hefty import tariffs of as much as 20% put its products beyond the reach of average Indians.
Over a fifth of the phones sold in the country are through online channels and through direct sales, Apple could win greater customer loyalty and even out the playing field with Chinese brands which have gained popularity in the market on aggressive online selling strategies.