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Apple Could Start Online Sales In India Within Months

Online sales of Apple products will roll out in India following new, more relaxed rules for foreign companies and the requirement to source 30 percent of production locally, a source told Bloomberg in a report on Wednesday (Aug. 28).

India’s 30 percent rule was an issue for Apple and other electronics brands because most devices and components are manufactured in China. India is also now allowing single-brand retailers to set up online stores before brick-and-mortar locations.

The iPhone, iPad and Mac computers will soon be available online, and a physical store in Mumbai is also in the works, the source said in the report.

Some of the phone maker’s older devices are assembled by Taiwanese contractor Wistron Corp. in a factory in Bangalore, while the world’s largest contract manufacturer, Foxconn Technology Group, tests assembly of Apple’s latest iPhone X in a factory near Chennai.

Apple now has the chance to boost sales in the massive India market, where iPhone sales have dropped an estimated 42 percent in the first quarter of this year due to high prices and import tariffs.

Up until now, when people clicked the “Buy” button on Apple’s India site, they were directed to find an authorized Apple reseller. There is a large counterfeit market for Apple products in India, and being able to sell directly to customers will offer an improved experience.

India’s population of 1.3 billion people is the remaining global opportunity for smartphone makers and the country’s online retail market is surging.

After being the majority of Apple’s revenue since 2012, the iPhone accounted for only 48.3 percent of Apple’s overall revenue in FYQ3, the first time that it hasn’t contributed over half of Apple’s sales in over seven years.

The company still beat analysts’ earnings forecasts on the top and bottom line and saw bigger than expected growth in both its wearables and services departments. As for next quarter, Apple is forecasting revenue of between $61 billion and $64 billion, solidly ahead of the Street’s $60.9 billion estimate.

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