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Apple CEO Tim Cook in India, to pave path for exclusive retail outlets

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Apple CEO Tim Cook is in India and is likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week even as the iPhone maker seeks to cash in on the huge potential in the world’s second largest smartphone market.
According to a report in PTI: Cook is expected to discuss matters pertaining to manufacturing in India and the potential of the Indian technology market, according to sources. Apple is looking to set up its first retail outlet in India soon.
ALSO READ: Apple to open retail stores in India
His meetings in India will include one with Bharti Airtel Chairman, Sunil Mittal, besides top industry executives, employees and trade partners. He is also expected to meet senior officials from Reliance Industries.
One of the items on Cook’s agenda during his India visit is the possibility of tapping into India’s startup ecosystem. Apple is exploring a number of options, including an accelerator programme of sorts for local startups.
The Apple CEO’s visit comes at a crucial time when the US-based firm is focusing on new growth markets like India after posting its first-ever decline in iPhone sales.
In an interview earlier this month, Cook had said Apple sees a huge market potential for its products in India and that it is really putting energy in the country.
Apple has also sent in a proposal to the Indian Government for selling refurbished phones in India. However, no official call has been made on the matter.
Addressing analysts in a conference call, Cook had said that India presents a really great opportunity but slow networks and the informal retail structure across the country is holding the company back from realising its full potential.
While its sales in China, its second-largest market after the US, fell 11 per cent, in India iPhone sales were up 56 per cent from a year ago.
According to research firm Counterpoint, Indian smartphone market grew 23 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, surpassing the US to become the second largest country in terms of users.
This is despite the global sales remaining flat globally in the same time period.
Samsung led the India smartphone tally with 29 per cent share. Other top players included Micromax (17 per cent share), Intex (10 per cent), Lenovo (8 per cent), Reliance Jio’s Lyf (7 per cent) and Karbonn (5 per cent).
According to the report, Apple in India recorded a stellar 62 per cent growth in the first quarter from the year-ago period, though on a lower base. India is a big market for Apple’s other products as well, including the iPad and iPod.

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