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Apple must reapply for approval to open retail stores in India

Though India has relaxed its policy for foreign companies that want to set up shop in the country, Apple still needs to win approval to roll out its own retail outlets.

Apple must still fight to win the OK to set up retail stores in India in spite of a new relaxed policy.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple must resubmit an application to open retail stores in India as the government relaxes rules on sales in the world's second-largest country, according to a report.

Earlier this week, India revamped rules requiring foreign companies to source at least 30 percent of their components in the country to be eligible to open single-brand stores. The relaxed rules raised the prospect foreign companies, like Apple, would be allowed to set up shop.

The iPhone maker must now resubmit its application to open retail outlets in India, the Times of India reported on Tuesday, citing an unnamed government official. Approval will likely hinge on whether Apple's products are deemed "cutting edge," the report said, adding a government body will examine each case individually.

Neither Apple nor the Indian government immediately responded to a request for comment.

India represents a prime opportunity for Apple. The company already sells the iPhone, iPad and other products online and through resellers. But its market share in the country is around 2 percent. Retail stores could help sales by giving consumers in India the chance to try out the company's devices and work with customer service representatives in person.

Apple has been seeking approval from the Indian government since January to open its own retail stores. But the company had sought an exemption from the local sourcing policy. Apple currently acquires most of its parts from Chinese manufacturers.