Apple announces app development accelerator in Bangalore, India ~ THE HAIPHONG POST - Breaking News of World


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Apple announces app development accelerator in Bangalore, India

After a visit to China earlier in the week, Apple CEO Tim Cook's next stop is India, an increasingly important market for the company. Apple has just announced a iOS design and development accelerator to open in Bangalore, considered the main hub of the country's startup scene with over one million people working in the local tech sector. The center will provide support to local app developers and help improve their iOS software, providing one-on-one app reviews.

India is home to one of the most vibrant and entrepreneurial iOS development communities in the world, Cook says in a statement. With the opening of this new facility in Bengaluru, we're giving developers access to tools which will help them create innovative apps for customers around the world. The accelerator is set to open early next year.

This is Cook's first trip to India, according to Bloomberg, and he may have additional business in the country; Apple will reportedly also unveil a development center for its mapping services in Hyderabad. Earlier this year the company announced that it had invested $25 million in a Hyderabad facility for 4,500 employees.

Smartphone shipments may be sputtering in the U.S., Europe and other mature markets, but in India, there’s the prospect of a billion new device sales. It’s probably no surprise then that Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook is making his first trip to the country.

I’m encouraged by the results that we’re beginning to see there, and believe there’s a lot, lot more, Cook said on Apple’s latest earnings call. I view India as where China was maybe seven to ten years ago from that point of view, and I think there’s a really great opportunity there.
Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the mapping center and accelerator.
Cook’s visit highlights the challenges Apple already faces in India, where its prices are far beyond the reach of average consumers. The company isn’t among the top 10 in terms of smartphone market share, according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Simon Chan. Samsung leads the market, followed by Micromax Informatics Ltd., Lenovo Group Ltd. Apple has sought to import and sell refurbished iPhones in the country, but is facing stiff opposition to the proposal.
Mr. Cook is certainly going to come with an agenda, said Vishal Tripathi, a research director at Gartner India. High on that list is permission to open Apple Stores in India, bring up the closed chapter of importing and selling refurbished phones in the country and also explore what’s in it for Apple if it brings assembly and manufacturing to the country.
The CEO is planning to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, although that schedule hasn’t been finalized because the results of several Indian state assembly elections are due this week, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the information is not yet public.
There is a massive opportunity for every player in the mobile value chain when the second largest market by volume is still under penetrated and growing, while the rest of the world smartphone demand has waned, Peter Richardson, Counterpoint’s research director, wrote in the report. India is the next China.
Apple has a network of 33 stores in China, which made up a quarter of the company’s revenue in the latest quarter. Cook’s trip to India comes on the heels of a deal struck in China this month, where Apple is investing $1 billion in car-hailing app Didi.
One key hurdle facing Apple in India is price, according to BI’s Chan. India’s consumers aren’t willing to pay as much for the gadgets in a market where phones are typically bought outright and aren’t available on calling plans. While Apple’s most affordable smartphone, the iPhone SE, starts at $399, the average selling price for a phone in India is projected to decline to $102 by 2018 from $135 in 2014, according to IDC, less than half the global average.
IDC’s smartphone sales figures from the latest quarter also underline how nascent India’s market remains, and how much more it has to go to reach the lofty projection for 1 billion in shipments in five years. Vendors sold 23.5 million phones in India in the period, a rise of 5.2 percent from a year earlier.


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