Apple has filed an application with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) of India to open its own chain of retail stores in India, according to the DIPP secretary Amitabh Kant speaking to The Times of India.
"We have just received Apple's proposal. We are examining it," said Kant. He also confirmed that Apple is seeking the government's approval to sell its products through its own online store.
Apple had previously tried to go down this route of selling its products directly in India through online and offline retail stores but back then the Indian Government's FDI policy mandated that any foreign company investing more than 51% should source 30% of its products from within the country and also did not allow foreign single-brand retailers from opening their own online stores. Since November of last year, these restrictions have been relaxed, which means companies like Apple can now finally go ahead with their plans.
All this time, Apple has been selling its products through a network of franchisee-owned stores, such as Croma. With the relaxation of the rules, Apple can now apply to open its own retail stores in India, the way they have in several countries worldwide. The current Apple 'stores' in India are designed to mimic the look of official Apple stores everywhere else but aren't quite the same. But if Apple ends up opening its own stores then customers in India will finally get to experience the proper Apple sales and service experience.