HARDER PUSH

Apple is trying to be friends with Indian entrepreneurs

Quartz india
Quartz india

Apple is wooing India like never before.

The maker of iPhone—which recently reported a 56% year-on-year jump in revenue from India—may have started looking at the country as more than just a market for its devices.

Last week, Apple hosted around 40 Indian entrepreneurs at its headquarters in Cupertino, California, and discussed mobile app development. At least two entrepreneurs who attended the event said that Apple may soon create a local team in India to engage with developers in the country.

“Our app is available on Apple App Store but I did not know anyone from the company so far. They did not know of us either,” said P R Jayashree of Chennai-based Nextwave Multimedia, who was part of this meeting. “But I believe now they are increasing their focus on India.”

Apple did not reply to an email from Quartz.

Working closely with the developer community in India could help Apple create India-focused apps for its operating system. “If they have better Indian apps, more users would want to buy their phones in the country,” said Shashwat Pradhan, founder of Emberify, who was also there.

The meeting between Indian entrepreneurs and Apple was organised by Indian IT industry body Nasscom, as part of its Innotrek programme—an annual event where Indian startups are brought to meet and interact with Silicon Valley heavyweights. In 2014, Yahoo had met Bengaluru-based Bookpad for the first time during the Innotrek programme and acquired the startup later that year.

This is the first time Apple participated in this event, which has for years seen regular involvement from tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, IBM, and Microsoft.

India is currently a minuscule market for Apple, accounting for just about 1% of global iPhone sales in terms of both volume and revenues, according to market intelligence firm Counterpoint Research. Apple does not disclose a geographical breakdown of sales in India.

But with slowing growth in China—the company’s second-largest market—India is widely being seen as the next growth destination for Apple. In recent months, it has increased its focus on India. “We’ve been working (in India) with great energy over the last 18 months or so, and I am encouraged by the results that we’re beginning to see there,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the company’s earnings call last month.

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