Apple CEO Tim Cook is due to meet with Indian prime minister Narendra Modi later this month during the latter’s tour of the US west coast, an Apple spokesperson confirmed on Wednesday, according to this AppleInsider report.
According to India’s Economic Times, the spokesperson declined to say what the topic of discussion would be. Three sources for the newspaper indicated that the prime minister’s Office is yet to set an agenda after discussion with Apple.
It is believed that Apple is interested to invest in building manufacturing capacities in India, which could prove to be a huge boost for Modi’s initiatives such as ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’. While India’s manufacturing sector has a long way to go, for Modi’s US visit, the main focus is on the entrepreneurship and digital innovation sectors, which are taking India to new heights.
Apple is dependent entirely on third-party resellers in the region and doesn’t even have a local online store. The company is working towards a brisk expansion of its reseller network, with special emphasis on improving iPhone sales, according to the AppleInsider report. Although iPhone numbers rose 93 percent in India during the June quarter, Apple has had difficulty making headway against Android-based phone makers. This is partly because phones are often sold in small independent shops that don’t fit with the company’s normal chain-oriented retail strategy.
Apple differentiates between refurbished and second-hand products in this Times of India article, saying that Apple products have a much longer life than Samsung or other similar products, if properly refurbished. Apple believes its refurbished products such as phones, computers, tablets and laptops have a big market in Asia. Under India’s current industrial policy refurbishing is not allowed. However, there might be a change in policy with Apple’s arrival.
Apple uses manufacturing facilities of Foxconn, which has recently promised to invest $5 billion in a manufacturing facility in Maharashtra. A local Apple-run R&D center might send more critical projects towards India’s direction instead of the backend software development that is usually pushed towards Indian firms like Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services.
Some of the other big names that Modi is scheduled to meet are Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai, and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen.