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India, an Important Growth Market on the Radar of Apple CEO Tim Cook

India, an Important Growth Market on the Radar of Apple CEO Tim Cook
Seeking to make further inroads in the world’s fastest-growing smartphone market, Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook will unveil a development center for digital maps during his multiday visit to India this week, sources were quoted by media to be saying.
Cook will also introduce an accelerator program for iOS developers on his first official trip to the country. The maps center will be based in Hyderabad. Apple has been facing opposition to its efforts to import and sell refurbished iPhones in India even as the company is seeking to open up retail stores in the country.
Since the results of several Indian state assembly elections are due this week, a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as planned and desired by Cook, has not yet been finalized.
“Mr. Cook is certainly going to come with an agenda. High on that list is permission to open Apple Stores in India, bring up the closed chapter of importing and selling refurbished phones in the country and also explore what’s in it for Apple if it brings assembly and manufacturing to the country,” said Vishal Tripathi, a research director at Gartner India.
In these last few month, meetings with prime minister Modi have already been made by top executives from Facebook Inc., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and other global technology firms from the West who have already trekked to India. This country is of special interest to most of the major IT companies as more of the country’s 1.3 billion people move into the middle class and thus India is on the cusp of become a potentially huge consumer market.
“For Apple and other technology makers, India may not yet be a China -- but it is an under-penetrated market where per capita income and purchasing power are going up offering huge growth opportunities,” Tripathi said.
Cook’s trip follows a successful deal in China by the tech company this month where it is investing $1 billion in car-hailing app Didi. India is viewed by Cook to in an economic position where China was seven to 10 years ago. shipments in India grew 56 percent in the period compared to a fall in sale of Apple’s iPhone globally for the first time ever in the first three months of 2016.
Cook’s visit is also being linked to a potential announcement of setting up of a local manufacturing plant in India. There are rumors and unconfirmed media reports that a manufacturing unit in India, exclusively for Apple products, is on the way and Apple is said to be close to inking a deal with Foxconn and the Indian government. aligned with PM Modi’s initiative, most large IT companies have kickstarted their Make in India plans. In the bid to woo price sensitive Indian market as its global and China market has started to plateau, Apple, though slightly behind in the race, is now catching up.
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Christopher J. Mitchell

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