Asia-Pacific News

India tells Apple: You can open stores in the country, if you create jobs

Foreign companies eager to sell products in India must also create jobs in the country, Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told CNBC in an interview, amid efforts by tech giant Apple to win approval to open its own retail stores in Asia's third-largest economy.

Apple's application — aimed at boosting sales in India and countering a slowdown in China — has yet to be approved, as India typically requires single-brand retailers to source at least 30 percent of their raw material needs from local suppliers.

Jaitley said the thought process behind the rule, which was put in place by the previous United Progressive Alliance coalition, was sound.

"Speaking for myself, I feel it was based on good rationale, and the rationale behind the policy was, when somebody eyes such a large market, obviously job creation also is something the government of India is concerned with," Jaitley said.

Apple chief facing challenges on India trip

"Now am I to be concerned with job creation or not? Or am I only to allow foreign companies to sell products in India and not create jobs in India?," he said.

Jaitley said exceptions could be made in case of specific high-technology areas and the government would take a call on whether Apple's application meets this criteria.

Apple currently sells products in India through distributors. The tech company recently opened an iOS developer center to help support and develop future app-makers.

Bolstering jobs creation is a key cog of the Indian government's showpiece "Make in India" initiative that aims to encourage foreign manufacturers to set up shop in India.

Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook.