Apple CEO Tim Cook arrived in India late Tuesday night to start a five day visit to the country.
Cook was previously in the Chinese capital of Beijing as part of a series of overseas visits. His time in India started with a pre-dawn visit to the renowned Siddhivinayak Temple in Mumbai, as reported by the The Indian Express. He was accompanied on his visit but Sanjay Kaul, the newly promoted head of Apple India.
Tim Cook embarks on business tour of India
The Apple CEO later met Anant Ambani, the son of Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani, and then had meetings with Vodafone India CEO Sunil Sood, Tata Group Chairman Cyrus Mistry, and TCS CEO Natarajan Chandrasekaran, among others. The meetings took place at the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai, an opulent residence where Cook will spend his time in Mumbai.
According to local media Cook will also dine with Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan at his seaside home in Bandra, a suburb of Mumbai. A meeting with Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis is also on the agenda.
Cook will apparently travel to Hyderabad on Thursday, according to Indian website Mid-Day. He will reportedly confirm plans for a $25 million technology development center in the city, with a focus on Apple Maps. The new facility is expected to house 150 employees.
Apple making moves in India
The Apple CEO is also expected to make an appearance in Bangalore and Delhi later in the week, with a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi scheduled for Saturday.
It is thought that discussions could cover recent government decisions related to Apple. Indian authorities have approved single-branded Apple Stores, and they could open within 18 months, but they have refused to allow the sale of refurbished iPhones.
India is a highly price sensitive market, where Apple market share is still less than 2%. However Cook says that the country is a “really great opportunity” for further growth, especially given that sales in the U.S. and China have slowed.
In India the company’s revenue grew 56% last quarter, surpassing the $1 billion barrier for the first time.
Apple centers to open in Hyderabad and Bangalore
Alongside other plans the company has announced that it will open an iOS App Design and Development Accelerator in Bangalore, India. The initiative is designed to support engineering talent and support the iOS developer community.
“India is home to one of the most vibrant and entrepreneurial iOS development communities in the world,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “With the opening of this new facility in Bengaluru, we’re giving developers access to tools which will help them create innovative apps for customers around the world.”
The center will host briefings and one-on-one app reviews for developers, while it was also offer support for Indian developers looking to master Apple’s programming language, Swift. The iOS App Design and Development Accelerator is scheduled to open in early 2017.
“This is a huge vote of confidence in India’s developer community and a tremendous opportunity to gain world-class design and development expertise,” said Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal. “Apple’s support will help drive growth and accelerate progress among the country’s vast talent pool.”
Apple is one of a number of tech companies who are expressing a keen interest in India. The country offers a huge market that until now has been largely untapped. The challenge is to offer products that price-sensitive Indian consumers can afford to buy.