April 22, 2021 | 10:47 PM IST

Apple to sell products directly in India as FDI norms ease; apologises for Siri goof-up

The Indian government on Wednesday relaxed the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) norms and formally permitted foreign single-brand companies like Apple Inc to sell their products directly to Indian customers.
The announcement was made by Union Minister Piyush Goyal after a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

Under the new provision, the foreign brands looking to invest in India will get a boost and lead to greater flexibility and ease of operations for Single Brand Retail Trade (SBRT) entities.
Post this relaxation, single-brand retailers like Apple can start selling its iPhone, iPad and MacBook products via its online channel and also set up physical retail stores in the country- the first possibly in Mumbai within the next 3-5 months. The relaxation will allow Apple with a chance to increase its market share in the country and reduce the cost of its products.
Until now, the company was could only list its product on its Indian website and it had to sell through third-party resellers like Amazon India, Flipkart, and other major e-commerce platforms.

The FDI policy till now required 30 percent of the value of goods to be procured from India, but as per the relaxed norms, the 30 percent local sourcing norm is allowed either through domestic sales or exports for 5 years.
Meanwhile, Apple on Wednesday also apologized for its ‘Siri grading programme’ that allowed contractors to review conversation that people spoke to its Siri voice assistant. The programme was halted on July 26 after some workers reviewing Siri requests heard personal medical details, drug deals and more. Apple on its site mentioned that ‘by default, it will no longer retain audio recordings of Siri interactions, but will continue to use computer-generated transcripts to help Siri improve’.

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