After delivering another thumping address in China, Apple CEO Tim Cook is set to make a visit to India this week as a part of the second leg of the Asian Tour. According to a report in the ET, he is said to meet PM Narendra Modi during his time in India and discuss the company’s plans for the country.
Cook is visiting India at a time when Apple has reported sluggish sales in the West and its strongest market outside the home turf, China. India accounts for about 2 per cent sales in the growing market, but it reported a 56 per cent year-on-year growth in sales for Apple in the first quarter of 2016.
This will be Cook’s first visit to India, after China which he is currently visiting. During his visit, he has met with the CEO of Didi Chuxing, the Chinese rival of Uber to discuss expansion plans. Apple has recently invested a whopping sum of $1 Billion in the taxi-ride aggregator.
The visit is also critical for Apple because the Indian government had recently refused the tech giant’s request to sell refurbished iPhone’s in the country. Sources say that Cook will be touring multiple cities in his visit to India, while the meeting with PM Modi is said to happen towards the end of the tour.
It is unknown but the Apple CEO might discuss the sale of refurbished phones or announce a partnership to manufacture iPhones in the country, under the ‘Make In India’ program. PM Narendra Modi had visited Silicon Valley to discuss the same with tech giants last year. Apple is working towards adding the second-largest smartphone market, India under its wing and make it viable for the people to buy the iPhone.
The government had recently increased import duties in the budget announcements to curb the import of cheap goods from China and to push Indian manufacturers to build products locally. But, Silicon Valley giants like Apple have also suffered a setback due to the requited policies of the government. Thus, Apple might also be looking forward to manufacture and sell Indian-made iPhones with the help of Foxconn which already has a presence in India. We expect to hear announcements(if any) from the manufacturing front as well.
Apple is currently in negotiations with the government to open a first set of official Apple retail stores in India. The government panel looking into the matter has also decided to wave 30 per cent due to Apple product’s cutting-edge technology. This might also be a topic of discussion in Tim Cook’s visit to India starting tomorrow.
In India, more than 100 million smartphones were sold last year and we expect to see a 25 per cent growth this year, making India one of the fastest growing smartphone markets. And Apple wants to be a fore-runner in this race and benefit from the untapped potential of this growing smartphone market.