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Apple to open retail stores in India, says CEO Tim Cook

India is the world's quickest growing smartphone market, and it's a key to the iPhone's long-term success.

James Martin/CNET

After months of to and froing with the Indian government, Apple CEO Tim Cook said on Tuesday the company will open retail stores in India.

The announcement was made on the sidelines of Apple's Q3 2016 earnings call, where the Cupertino, California-based company reported iPad sales growth for the first time in 10 quarters and better-than-expected nu​mbers for the iPhone SE. He did not share the number of stores planned or any time frame for their development.

"India is now one of our fastest growing markets. In the first three quarters of this fiscal year, iPhone sales in India were up 51 percent year-on-year," he said. "We're looking forward to opening retail stores in India down the road and we see huge potential for that vibrant country."

At present, iPhones and iPads can only be bought through authorised resellers in India, and not directly through Apple. Opening official Stores allows the company to effectively cut out the middleman.

Apple had wished to open retail stores in the country earlier this year, but was let down by the domestic government's foreign investment norms that required 30 percent of goods sold in India to be locally sourced. India has since made amendments to its laws to give eligible foreign companies some wiggle room.

Retail stores will be the latest addition to the company's growing commitment to India. In May, during his maiden visit to the country as Apple CEO, Tim Cook announced a first-of-its-kind design and development accelerator for India to foster development of iOS apps, and a new centre in Indian city Hyderabad to accelerate Maps development.