Millennium Post

Apple CEO Tim Cook to visit India this week, may get time from PM

Cook is expected to discuss matters pertaining to manufacturing in India and the potential of the Indian technology market, according to sources. However, Apple declined to comment on his schedule when contacted. 

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. 

"But 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," he had said.

According to research firm Counterpoint, India 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. Meanwhile, Chinese ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing is mulling an initial public offering, according to a report, after US technology giant Apple invested $1 billion in the rival to Uber. Didi is “targeting” a listing in New York next year, Bloomberg News said, citing unnamed people “familiar with the matter”. The exact timing would depend on how its battle with US- based Uber goes in China, the sources were quoted as saying.

Didi denied having such intentions at present. “We do not have IPO plans as of now,” a company spokeswoman told AFP. Apple on Friday announced it had invested $1 billion in Didi in what the Chinese firm called the single largest investment it had ever received. Didi Chuxing, formerly known as Didi Kuaidi, claims to have almost 90 per cent of the Chinese ride-hailing market with nearly 300 million registered passengers and more than 11 million rides a day.

Didi and Uber are locked in a war of attrition for drivers and riders in the world’s second-largest economy, and both have deep pockets.Didi is in the process of raising about $3 billion, including Apple’s investment, which has swelled the company’s valuation to about $26 billion, the Bloomberg News report said.
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