tim cook, apple.jpg
Photograph: Photo by Valery Marchive, used under CC BY-SA

Apple chief executive Tim Cook began a week-long trip to India on Wednesday with the announcement that the company would open a centre in Bangalore to support app makers as it looks to expand in one of the world's fastest-growing smartphone markets.

The US technology giant said it would set up by early 2017 a design and development accelerator for the company's IOS operating system for mobile devices in India's information technology hub.

The initiative would feature an Apple team working alongside Indian developers to improve the quality and performance of their apps, Apple India spokesman Anand Baskaran said.

"With the opening of this new facility ... we’re giving developers access to tools which will help them create innovative apps for customers around the world," said Cook, who spent the day at business meetings in India's financial hub Mumbai.

The Apple leader was likely to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday besides making trips to Bangalore and Hyderabad, home to some of the country's most successful start-ups, NDTV news channel reported.

Cook, who began his India trip with a visit to Siddhi Vinayak Mandir, one of Mumbai's most popular temples dedicated to the elephant god Ganesha, was scheduled to meet Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry and film star Shah Rukh Khan, NDTV reported.

Cook's trip comes at a time when the company is facing a global slowdown and is looking for new growth markets in India and China.

Apple imports the devices it sells in India and the government which recently rejected the company's request to sell refurbished phones is keen that it sets up production facilities that would boost the Make in India campaign to encourage manufacturing.

Apple’s manufacturing partner, Foxconn, is present in India and has looked at expanding its manufacturing capacities in the country.  

"Make in India is going to be important (for Apple)," Neil Shah of technology research firm Counterpoint Research, said. "There were 100 million smartphones sold in India in 2015 and Apple's share was just 2 per cent."

Shah said if Apple started manufacturing iPhones in India they could cut down the 12 per cent import duty and lower costs.

"The demand is huge, but the bulk of smartphones (about 75 per cent) are below 150 dollars," Shah said, adding that even discounted iPhones begin at around 270 dollars.

"Already Foxconn is assembling phones in India. It's natural that Apple uses these facilities to start manufacturing. For that Apple needs to get close to the government," Shah said.

Cook was expected to give an outline of his company’s investment plans during his meeting with Modi, the Times of India reported.

Though India is a small market for Apple it is currently one of its fastest growing with sales surging 56 per cent January to March 2016 year on year.

Related stories

Latest news

Reports: 12 injured as car runs into crowd at New Orleans parade

Twelve people were injured Saturday in the US city of New Orleans when a car struck a crowd watching a parade, local media reported.

"Moonlight" big winner at independent film awards

The coming-of-age drama "Moonlight" won six prizes including best feature at the 32nd Film Independent Spirit Awards Saturday, claiming the Hollywood spotlight on the eve of the Oscars.

Trump: I won't attend White House Correspondents' Association Dinner

US President Donald Trump said Saturday that he does not plan to attend the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner this year.

US Democratic Party chooses Tom Perez to be next party chief

The US Democratic Party elected former labour secretary Tom Perez as its next party chief at a meeting in Atlanta on Saturday.

73-year-old man dies after car ramming in Germany

A 73-year-old male pedestrian died from his injuries after being run over when a car rammed into people in the south-western town of Heidelberg, police said Saturday.

Syrian government vows retribution for Homs attacks that killed 42

The Syrian government vowed retribution for synchronized attacks on Saturday in Homs City that left 42 security personnel dead and reportedly involved up to six suicide bombers.

Between 250,000 and 300,000 Croatians suffer from rare diseases

Rare Disease Day, observed on February 28, was marked in Zagreb's Cvjetni Trg Square on Saturday.

German police shoot man who rammed car into pedestrians in Heidelberg

Police in Germany shot a man who rammed a car into pedestrians in the south-western town of Heidelberg on Saturday.

Egypt's al-Sissi orders cabinet to help Christians fleeing Sinai

Egypt's president Abdel Fattah al-Sissi ordered the government on Saturday to take all necessary measures to help Christians who escaped northern Sinai after the Islamic State militia killed at least six of them over the past month.

SDP MP calls on citizens to raise their voice against restriction of women's rights

Josko Klisovic, a Social Democrat member of the Croatian parliament, on Saturday called on all Croatians to raise their voice against a policy turnaround on women's rights after Croatia took a conservative position in a discussion on human rights in the Council of the European Union.

Egypt court acquits Mubarak's aide of 22 years

An Egyptian court on Saturday acquitted one of ousted president Hosny Mubarak's closest aides, ruling he was not guilty of corruption and illicit profits.

EU ambassador to Albania Romana Vlahutin under 24-hour police protection

EU Ambassador to Albania Romana Vlahutin and her family have been given 24-hour armed police protection due to threats she has been receiving lately, the Austrian paper Der Standard said on Saturday, explaining that the threats were linked to Vlahutin's monitoring of a reform of Albania's judiciary designed to curb corruption in that country.