Family-owned German premium audio products maker, Sennheiser, is exploring options to set up company-owned stores in India and also evaluating options for manufacturing and assembling in the country at a later stage, global CEO Andreas Sennheiser said. Talking to ET, Sennheiser said the company will initiate talks with the government to relax the 30% local sourcing norm as the company makes products that involves cutting edge technology.“However, the government should not link direct retail presence with manufacturing or sourcing in India since making such a hard connection may discourage a lot of companies. Instead, the government should evaluate each proposal on a case-to-case basis. For companies who are keen to set up manufacturing, this can be a potent and win win package,” said Sennheiser, who is currently in India as part of his annual visit to the country. The government last week decided to relax local sourcing norms for companies with ‘cutting edge’ technology keen to open own stores in the country for up to eight years. This may pave the way for Apple to set up its own stores in the country as it wants a direct presence. Even Chinese smartphone maker LeEco has applied for relaxation from sourcing clause for its stores..Sennheiser said the company at present has around five company-owned stores globally, but it would want to ramp-up its direct presence in India which is the fastest growing big market globally. The company is growing sales at 30% year-on-year, but declined to share financials. “India is becoming a premium market for consumer audio products and we have the largest share of voice amongst all brands. The pace at which we are growing, India would become amongst the top ten markets for us in next two years,” said Sennheiser. He said its most expensive headphone priced at around 50,000 will be launched in India soon.Sennheiser said the company has been exploring options to manufacture or assemble in India ever since Prime Minister Narendra Modi went to its home town Hannover last year and made a strong pitch for Make in India.
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