Indian officials are apparently considering waiving a longstanding regulatory hurdle that has so far prohibited Apple from launching a retail store of its own in the country. The move means Apple's first Indian retail store could indeed launch at some point in the not-so-distant future.
The news comes from The Times of India (via AppleInsider), which explains that Apple representatives apparently met with Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion Secretary Ramesh Abhishek earlier in the week. Apple apparently argued “for a specifical exception to a rigid Indian trade policy,” the removal of which could see Apple go ahead and develop its own retail presence in India.
The Indian government mandates foreign companies marketing a products from a single brand source at least 30 percent of goods sold within the country from domestic suppliers. In Apple's case, the 30 percent would have to be accounted for in components used to manufacture devices like iPhone and Mac.
However, India is allowing “state-of-the-art” and “cutting-edge technology” to receive exemptions from this strict policy; The Times of India's sources are now claiming that Apple's products meet the criteria for such an exemption. Apple has also suggested that it might bring expanded production to India – a move that would only serve to increase Apple's chances of getting the go-ahead from Indian officials.
The news comes following a further report claiming that Apple was planning to hike the prices of its iPhone handsets in India by 29 percent. The move, according to a further report from The Times of India, was being made in an effort to apparently “make up” for the iPhone SE's poor performance in the country.
Apple, however, has denied that such a price hike has, or is going, to be made. We'll keep you posted with further information on this front.