Tim Cook will on Wednesday inaugurate a development centre for digital maps in Hyderabad and introduce an accelerator programme for iOS developers in Bengaluru, a source privy to the Apple CEO's first official multiday visit to India told Bloomberg.
Indications weren't clear if any talk on opening Apple's first retail store in the country is scheduled. Another source said Cook's widely-reported meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi wasn't finalised yet, as the week will also witness results from five state Assembly elections. CNN Money noted that Modi had met Cook during his visit to Silicon Valley in the U.S. in September 2015.
Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Simon Chan noted that Apple isn't even among the top 10 in terms of smartphone market share in India. Samsung, Micromax and Lenovo are the top three.
The $234-billion company's market share in India is a mere 2 percent. However, in the first three months of the year, India registered a record 56 percent rise in iPhone sales, while globally the company saw its first ever fall in the same period, said Reuters.
"I'm encouraged by the results that we're beginning to see there, and believe there's a lot, lot more. I view India as where China was maybe seven to 10 years ago from that point of view, and I think there's a really great opportunity there," Bloomberg quoted Cook as saying in a latest earnings call.
While the rest of the smartphone markets in the world are saturated and seeing decline in new phone sales, India remains the world's second-largest market by volume, and under-penetrated, said the news agency. Incidentally, Apple is the world's second-biggest smartphone-maker, said CNN.
However, Apple's pricing of phones in India may be a big deterrent, noted IDC, the research firm. It told Bloomberg that while Apple's cheapest iPhone, the SE, is priced Rs. 26,600, predictions for the average cost of phones in India in 2018 was expected to slump to Rs. 6,800 — half of the world average.
Smartphone sales in India rose by 5.2 percent in a year's time to reach 23.5 million units in the last financial year. Market estimates say the country will clock 1 billion smartphone sales in next five years.
India retail entry apart, Apple wants the key issue of India accepting its import of refurbished iPhones in the country to be sorted out. While it also wants to know the benefits Apple could get by bringing assembly and manufacturing to the country selling its Make in India initiative.