Shortly after Tim Cook met with the Chinese President, Apple’s CEO has met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, as expected. The Times of India reports that the two of them discussed the possibility of bringing Apple Pay to the country, and Prime Minister Modi invited Apple to set up a manufacturing base in the country.
Cook was said to have “responded positively” to the idea, though nothing more specific was announced. We’ve known for some time that Foxconn has plans to build multiple factories in India, but neither company has confirmed that these would be manufacturing products for Apple. Foxconn carries out contract manufacturing for a number of high-profile brands.
Apple does, however, have one strong incentive to manufacture iPhones in India …
India has trading laws that prevent companies opening manufacturer-owned retail outlets unless a certain proportion of the manufacturing is carried out within the country. This is the reason that India does not yet have any official Apple Stores, relying instead on network of third-party resellers.
Apple is currently working to expand these to a target of 500 stores, using financing plans and cheaper hardware to make its products accessible to the local market. Cook reported in the July earnings call that iPhone sales in India almost doubled in Q3, and said in this meeting that the iPhone 6s/Plus would be launched in India “very soon” (now confirmed as 16 October).
Cook also commented that he was keen to partner in the Digital India initiative, which aims to make government services accessible electronically, and saw big opportunities for the Indian economy through app development, pointing to 1.5M jobs created in China.
A short video was released, but without sound.