Apple's webstore could be up and running in 5 months as India eases FDI norms

Apple can now set up a webstore without having an offline presence and it might going live in the next 5 monthsBCCL

  • India’s new FDI regulations will now allow Apple to set up its own online shop before having a brick-and-mortar store in place.
  • The webstore is likely to come up within the next three to five months.
  • Apple’s plans for its signature Apple Store are also green lit with the new FDI rules including exports and contract manufacturing as local sourcing.
As popular as Apple is worldwide, it has spent too many years under the wing of tough foreign direct investment (FDI) rules in India.

Finally, Indian Minister of Commerce Piyush Goel has eased the sourcing norms of single brand retailing, which now allows foreign brands to sell online without a brick-and-mortar presence.

This is good news for Apple which hasn’t been able to sell its full range of products online because it doesn’t yet have its signature ‘ Apple Stores’ here.

"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 told IANS.

Setting up a webstore will allow the company to sell its products directly and offer up its full range of products — from iPhones to MacBooks and iPads.

"It will take us some time to get our plans underway and we'll have more to announce at a future date," Apple noted.

And users might not have to wait very long. An indian Apple webstore will be likely be up and running in the next three to five months, according to company executives who spoke to the Economic Times.

The tussle between online and offline sales

Until now, Apple had to rely on Amazon India, Flipkart, Paytm Mall and other third party sellers to sell online. These e-commerce portals were offering Apple products at heavy discounts to boost sales — something that executives felt wasn’t quite ‘ on brand’ for Apple.

With FDI norms eased, Apple will be able to exercise full control of its products and pricing in a market, which it was directly kept away from.

Until now, the government had a rule which said said single-brand retailers will have to source 30% of materials locally, to have a physical presence.

Since most of its manufacturing is already contracted, Apple could not meet the norm to open its signature ‘Apple Stores’ offline. Without an offline store, it couldn’t launch an online store, sucking it into a vicious cycle.

Winds of change

For years, Apple has been lobbying with the government to relax the FDI norms.

The Indian government, which is looking to boost its economy and investments, has now expanded the definition of 30% local sourcing to contract manufacturing and exports as well.

While this will boost Apple’s prospects in the country, the US tech giant had already been planning on meeting the earlier norms in order to open its ‘Apple Store’ in Mumbai. But now, we could see many more stores, and many more products online; allowing it to compete in Indian premium market better.

See also:
A short trip to India showed me just how badly Apple is screwing up in the world's biggest democracy

Apple iPhone mass production is shifting from China to India — solving a key problem for the company

OnePlus smartphone sales in India are nearly double that of Apple and Samsung
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