India: We can help Apple build better products

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india
A new R&D center would enable Apple to more easily tap into the Indian tech sector.
Illustration: Cult of Mac

After China, India is the next big developing market Apple wants to conquer — and apparently the Indian government couldn’t be happier about it.

Meeting with Apple’s regulatory head for Europe, Middle East, India and Africa on Friday, India’s Communications and I.T. Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad urged the company to consider opening a Research & Development facility in the country — legitimizing India’s booming tech industry in the same way that Apple’s R&D facility in Israel does for that country’s.

“Apple is an effective brand in India and personally I requested them to consider opening a good R&D centre in India,” Prasad said, following the meeting.

Apple’s business has grown steadily in India in recent years. In the fiscal year 2013-2014, Apple sold $730 million worth of product in the country: a fact that Ravi Shankar Prasad made sure to mention in his chat with Apple’s rep.

The iPhone 6 and 6 Plus have been particularly big successes in the country: selling roughly twice the volume of previous generation iPhones, and Apple has even proven willing to take a short-term earnings hit to get more iPhones into people’s hands in the long run. Much like China — albeit on a lesser scale — Apple is also expanding its retail presence in the country, through the opening of 500 “iOS stores,” operated by distributor Redington, which currently accounts for around 70 percent of Apple’s sales in the country.

Of course, operating new R&D facilities around the world is not necessarily about the popularity of the Apple brand in different countries so much as it is a chance for Apple to tap into the supply of talented would-be employees in different markets. Given how rapidly India’s tech sector is growing, it would be hard to dispute that this is an idea Apple should at least consider.

Apple already operates R&D facilities in the United Kingdom, China and Israel. Recently it was announced that the company will open a new giant research center in Yokohama, Japan: its biggest one in Asia thus far.

Source: Economic Times