Apple may be getting close to having retail stores in India

Arun Jaitley, India’s finance minister has approved a proposal that clarifies how Apple could open stores in the country without initially having to source components locally, reports Bloomberg, quoting unnamed “people familiar with the matter.”

The article says Jaitley has ratified a proposal that gives the information technology ministry the power to label a retailer of a single brand as a provider of cutting-edge technology. Such a classification would give Apple a three-year exemption from rules that force some foreign retailers to procure 30% of components in India.

Previously, India wanted a commitment from Apple to bring manufacturing facilities to the country before the government will approve the company’s request to open its own retail stores. Getting a foothold in the country has been a challenge for Apple. 

The company has opened its retail stores in a number of countries around the world, but not in India. The country has restrictive real estate investment laws for foreign companies. What’s more, India’s Finance and Commerce Ministries rejected Apple’s request to sell used iPhones in the country.