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Apple is poised to open an online store for the first time in the fast growing smartphone market of India next month, according to a person with knowledge of the matter, taking advantage of a relaxation of once-strict prohibitions against foreign direct retail.

The online store will be ready for operations just ahead of the festive Dussehra-Diwali spending season, according to the person, who asked not to be named discussing confidential plans. The iPhone maker, program which lobbied New Delhi for years to get around regulations that force companies such as Apple to source 30% of components locally, had originally planned to start online sales within months after the government relaxed the rule last year. Those plans were disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.

India’s 1.3 billion people represents a large, under-served smartphone market that is becoming an increasingly important focus for Apple even as the pandemic raged this year. The company also plans to open a second brick-and-mortar store in the technology hub of Bangalore, following an outlet in Mumbai that will be its first physical location in the country, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

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