US technology giant Apple Inc will launch its development center in Hyderabad on Thursday.
The facility will commence operations on one lakh square feet leased space in WaveRock, a building owned by real estate giant Tishman Speyer at Nanakramguda.
However, it was not confirmed if Apple CEO Tim Cook will be present to inaugurate the company’s first development centre in India.
Cook is expected to visit India later this week and will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi. He is also expected to visit Mumbai and Hyderabad.
While officials in Telangana government’s information technology department confirmed that the facility will be launched on Thursday, it has not made any official announcement.
“Will share a big news with you all day after tomorrow. Suspense till then,” tweeted state IT minister K.T. Rama Rao.
The US-based firm, which owns iPhone, iPad and other popular consumer electronic brands, plans to expand the facility to 2.5 lakh square feet by next year. It will have 2,500 employees.
The company, which has taken the space on lease at WaveRock, is also planning to build its own campus.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao or his son IT minister K T Rama Rao may make an announcement for allocation of land to Apple for its campus.
Cook is also expected to meet Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, who is trying to attract big ticket investments for his state.
Cook’s visit to India comes at a time when the US technology giant is hit by slower growth in global sales of its flagship products — iPhone, iPad and Mac.
He is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday. He had met Modi at a Silicon Valley event in the US last September, where they discussed manufacturing plans under Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.
“In Delhi, after greeting employees at the Apple’s corporate office at One Horizon Centre in Gurgaon, he is expected to visit iZen Store (Apple authorised reseller) in Green Park and the iWorld Store (Apple premium store) in Ambience Mall in Gurgaon,” an Apple source told IANS on condition of anonymity.
The source, however, did not give details of his meeting with Modi.
Cook is flying to the country from China, where Apple announced a $1 billion investment in the local ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing.
“The trip signifies how significant Indian market has become for Apple. Cook is coming here to announce technology for the future,” Vishal Tripathi, research director at global market consultancy firm Gartner, told IANS.
The fact is that Apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn is present here and is looking to set up a manufacturing base in the country.
“If Cook announces concrete plans to set up a manufacturing unit here, this will create more jobs and bring in better competition in the smartphone and other devices market in the low-price segment,” Tripathi added.
According to him, Cook may raise the issue of allowing Apple to import and sell refurbished iPhones at a cheaper price in India. This will give Apple a slot in mid and low-price segment.
“India is incredibly exciting. The population of India is incredibly young. Almost half the people in India are below 25. And so I see the demographics there also being incredibly great for a consumer brand and for people that really want the best products,” Cook had said earlier this year.
Cook, who joined Apple in March 1998, was made chief executive of the company, succeeding Steve Jobs, on August 24, 2011.
Hit by slower growth in the sale of its flagship products iPhone, iPad and Mac globally, Apple’s revenue dropped for the first time since 2003 as the tech giant released earning reports for the second quarter of fiscal 2016 in March.
The company on April 27 posted a quarterly revenue of $50.6 billion and quarterly net income of $10.5 billion ($1.90 per diluted share), compared to revenue of $58 billion and net income of $13.6 billion ($2.33 per diluted share) in the year-ago quarter.
The revenue was down in both Americas and China — Apple’s two biggest territories. It declined around 10 percent in the Americas and 26 percent in China.
According to reports, the company is looking for new growth markets like India after its sales declined.
In the last two years of Modi as prime minister, top global executives have lined up to visit India. These include Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO; Satya Nadella, India-born CEO of Microsoft; Mark Zuckerberg, 32-years-old co-founder of Facebook; Sundar Pichai, Chennai-born CEO of Google and Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba, among others.