The Indian government’s recent move to dilute sourcing regulations has inspired Apple Inc to submit a proposal to set up retail stores in the country.

The maker of the iPhone now wants to set up physical as well as online stores in India, the world’s second-largest smartphone market. It has conveyed to the government that it wants to establish three brick-and-mortar outlets in addition to the online store, reports Press Trust of India.

In a major push to single-brand retail, the government last week relaxed foreign direct investment regulations, offering players more flexibility on local sourcing. It also did away a provision that made it mandatory for a company to set up a brick-and-mortar store before getting into online retail trading.
Following that announcement, Apple said it was keen on offering online and in-store experiences to Indian users that would at par with its global standards. While the company has not revealed anything about the locations of its stores, reports suggest that the first one may open in Mumbai.
Apple currently works with Taiwanese contract manufacturer Wistron in India and makes the iPhone 6S and 7 here. It may assemble more models in the country.
With the US and China locked in a trade war, India is looking to position itself as a global hub for smartphone manufacturing. It is now wooing companies that have so far concentrated their manufacturing operations in China.
The Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has noted in its report that the global handsets market is worth about US$467 billion, and this demand is being met mainly by China, Vietnam, South Korea, and Taiwan. The report pointed out that India’s mobile manufacturing lacks scale and depth despite the country’s ambition to become a global production hub.