Apple building development site in India

The iPhone maker is looking to India to increase sales, with reports also circulating that the company will be opening retail stores throughout the region.

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Rumours have circled that Apple would be opening up retail stores in India, but it looks like that's just the beginning of the Cupertino, California-based company's plans for the region.

Apple will be investing $25 million into a development centre in Hyderabad, India, the Economic Times reported on Tuesday. It will be the third such site for Apple outside of the US, with the company also having development centres in Brazil and Italy.

"We've been investing to expand our operations in India and are thrilled to have passionate customers and a vibrant developer community across the country," an Apple spokesperson said, adding that around 150 employees will be hired for the centre.

Apple investing in India comes as no surprise, as the country, home to over 1.3 billion, is entering a technological boom period with smartphone and Internet markets growing at staggering rates.

Despite this, the company only has around a 2 percent marketshare in India, thanks in part to the expense of its premium products -- cheaper budget and midrange phones by the likes of local brand Micromax and the South Korean Samsung are most popular in the country. This may not be a problem for long though, with rumours that Apple will soon be introducing a smaller, cheaper iPhone to its range.

Earlier in the month, it was reported that Apple is on the cusp of winning approval from Indian regulators to open retail stores in the country, with its products presently only available in India through resellers. Normally, India requires that any foreign business selling a single brand in the country buy all its components from local manufacturers, something that would be an obstacle for Apple, which gets most of its parts from Chinese vendors. That requirement has reportedly been waved since Apple has been classified as a "provider of cutting-edge technology," a source told Bloomberg.

Correction: 8:47 a.m. AEDT: Apple has development sites in Italy and Brazil.