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Business

No Apple stores in India for now

Long queues in front of Apple stores are unlikely to feature in India soon, as strict local sourcing rules keep blocking the world's most valuable firm from opening outlets in the fastest growing mobile market.

Indian regulations require foreign single-brand retailers to source at least 30 percent of their parts within the country in order to be able to open outlets - a push by the government to stimulate the economy by boosting manufacturing.

But in November, the government introduced an exception for companies who bring state-of-the-art or cutting edge technology to India.

However, the panel established to review requests from companies applying for the exemption turned down Apple’s pitch on Wednesday, saying the products from the world’s most valuable company didn’t quite qualify as state-of-the-art under their rules, sources from the Foreign Ministry said.

The panel’s decision comes days after a visit from Apple CEO Tim Cook to India, as global iPhone sales stagnate and the company searches for other markets. The 1.2-billion-strong country is one of the world’s fastest growing mobile markets, with only a fraction of the population already being online.

Without its own stores, Apple has so far only sold iPhones in India through third party retailers like Vodafone and Airtel. But Apple products have tended to be far too expensive for the vast majority of Indians, with taxes inflating the price of a basic iPhone to $600 (538 euros).

jd/uhe (APF, dpa)

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