Apple CEO Tim Cook meets PM, says committed to growing, investing more in India

New Delhi:  Apple chief executive Tim Cook on Wednesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the iPhone manufacturer is looking to invest more in the world’s second-largest smartphone market.

According to government sources, iPhone maker Apple is likely to double the employment base at its contract manufacturers in India to around 2 lakh soon.

“An absolute delight to meet you, @tim_cook! Glad to exchange views on diverse topics and highlight the tech-powered transformations taking place in India,” Prime Minister tweeted on meeting Apple CEO.

Cook, on his first trip to India in seven years, opened Apple’s first official retail store in the country in Mumbai on Tuesday and will launch another in Delhi on Thursday.

“Thank you Prime Minister @narendramodi for the warm welcome. We share your vision of the positive impact technology can make on India’s future — from education and developers to manufacturing and the environment, we’re committed to growing and investing across the country,” Cook tweeted with a picture of him shaking hands with Modi.

Cook had last visited India in 2016 when the tech giant was just beginning to scale up operations in the country.

Looking to replicate what China did to Apple’s business in the last 15 years, the tech giant is eyeing India’s massive market with an expanding middle class to power sales growth, and potentially make it a home base for the production of millions of Apple devices.

Cook during his visit met Union minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

“Met with @tim_cook , CEO, Apple. Discussed deepening Apple’s engagement in India across manufacturing, electronics exports, app economy, skilling, sustainability and job creation especially for women. Jointly charting a long-term and strong relationship,” Vaishnaw tweeted.

As per the sources, Cook has sought government support to widen its components supplier base in India.

“It was a delight to meet @tim_cook CEO, @Apple and his team to engage on Apple’s strategic and long-term partnership with and in India’s digital journey. We discussed deepening and broadening manufacturing, exports, skilling of youth, expanding app n innovation economy and job creation,” Chandrasekhar tweeted.

The minister has said Cook’s visit to India is not just limited to opening of stores but to explore the expansion of the Apple-India partnership.

Cook also discussed manufacturing facilities and App Design and Development Accelerator in Bengaluru with both ministers.

“It is a significant opportunity for Indian startups and innovation and manufacturing sectors. I am hopeful that this visit will give him the confidence to make India a strong partner for Apple group’s global ambitions and global value chains,” Chandrasekhar said.

Cook has asked for continued government support through long-term stable policies to foster investments in the country, according to government sources.

“Apple has created 1 lakh employment in India. Based on the discussions, we feel that they will double the employment base very soon,” a government source said.

Apple’s contract manufacturers Foxconn, Pegatron, Wistron and others hire dedicated workforce as per the requirement of the company.

The hiring plan is an indication of the company’s expansion of its manufacturing base in the country.

“He has also asked support to skill Indian manpower to suit the company’s requirement,” one of the sources said.

The government has offered Apple to define the skill set, and it will support them in facilitating it.

The company has set up a two-story Apple store in Mumbai covering a total area of around 20,000 square feet. According to sources, Apple will pay Rs 40 lakh rent per month and share revenue from the total sales of the store.

The Apple Saket Store in Delhi is half the size of the Mumbai store where the company will pay a portion of total sales from the store as rent or Rs 40 lakh per month whichever is higher, according to sources.

The barricade for Apple Saket store features a unique design that takes inspiration from Delhi’s many gates.

The company has more than 70 highly skilled retail team members at Apple Saket Store who come from a combined 18 states in India and collectively speak more than 15 languages.

The store will be open for all customers without any need for pre-registration.