Tim Cook's India Visit May Bring Cheers To Apple Lovers
Apple CEO Tim Cook’s maiden visit to India and his Bollywood and cricket camaraderie have already made news in the last 48 hours. This is Cook’s first visit to the country after taking over as CEO at the tech giant in 2011, succeeding its legendary founder Steve Jobs, who came to India way back in 1970s in search of ‘answers’. However, Cook’s visit certainly has a different objective.
The tech major has already made two announcements. First, Apple will get its first India development center in Hyderabad that will ramp up to 4,000 employees over the next few quarters, and then the setup of the app accelerator in Bengaluru, which is about encouraging developers and entrepreneurs. Cook said in an interview, the facilities announced for Bengaluru and Hyderabad were only the beginning of what’s to come.
Cook also met Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry, TCS managing director N Chandrasekaran and Vodafone chief executive Sunil Sood at the Taj Hotel and held a meeting with ICICI Bank chief Chanda Kochhar at the bank’s headquarters.
Reportedly on the cards is his meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is keen to have business leaders from around the world invest in the country and bring more manufacturing jobs to India. Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn has reported investments worth some $5 billion to set up a facility in India.
Clearly then, Apple is looking at India as an investment destination, besides pushing the sales of its products in the country.
Cook showed a strong commitment to the India market. “While we have been in India for a while, this seems like a great time to scale up when the priorities of the country and the company are in line; and I don’t mean only in terms of it being a market; yes, we would like to sell our products, but we see India as a significant source of talent. Not just for us but also for the ecosystem,” Cook said in an interview with The Hindu.
Across India, Apple supports over 640,000 iOS app developer jobs and other positions related to the iOS ecosystem. According to Cook, Apple has hundreds and thousands of developers in India but that number should be in millions. India is also home to content creation, and this is where Apple sees huge potential.
Fact is, as sales growth has stagnated in mature markets, Apple is increasingly giving more attention to India. In January, Apple had applied to open its own stores in the country. And now the company has confirmed that it will open the stores in India by 2017-end.
While Apple is betting big on India market, recently, it faced a setback in the country after the telecom ministry rejected its application to import and sell refurbished phones in the country. This was Apple’s bid to gain some market share by selling used phones at a discounted rate. Needless to say, most of the phones sold in the price-sensitive India market are under Rs. 25,000 and most Apple models are priced much higher.
However, Cook seemed to be unperturbed. He said he has often expressed the importance of India for Apple. Even amidst company’s first quarter of setback in years, India has shown a year-on-year growth of 56 percent.
I see a lot of positive things happen in the country and there’s more to happen, said Cook, adding that “The talent here is incredible and we are looking forward to expanding our relationships and introducing more universities and partners to our platforms as we scale our operations,” he said.
It needs to be seen now whether Cook’s India bonding may bring some cheers to Apple lovers.
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