Apple May Be Looking to Get a Foot in the Door of India

The Economic Times reported today that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) may be evaluating opening its own stores in India. The iPhone and iPad maker currently supplies its products to Indian consumers through partnerships with local distributors. But fees paid to those partners eat into profitability.

Apple could open stores in India only if the government allows the U.S. company's technology outsourcing operations in the South Asian nation to be included as part of the mandatory 30% local-sourcing requirement for foreign retailers, according to unnamed sources. Otherwise, Apple, which contracts much of its manufacturing to Chinese companies, would have a hard time meeting the requirement.

Due to the absence of Apple's own stores in India, the company lags key rivals there, such as South Korea's Samsung. Apple's market share of handsets in India is 1.2%, according to research firm IDC, nowhere near the 51% of Samsung, the market leader. Apple has yet to officially launch the iPhone 5 in India, though the smartphone is already available there online for a premium.

Shares of Apple are up about 0.5% in premarket trading to $670.80. The 52-week range is $354.24 to $705.07.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Emerging Markets, International Markets, Retail, Rumors Tagged: AAPL