Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook is expected to announce the company’s plan to expand its software development center in India and to build an accelerator program for local start-ups, according to Reuters based on information from sources familiar with the matter.
According to a source, Apple’s startup accelerator program is intended to work more closely with India’s developer community that focuses on its iOS and OS X operating systems.
Cook to meet Prime Minister Modi
Cook arrived in the South Asian country on Tuesday. He is scheduled to meet Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other government officials during his visit in the country, which is third largest smartphone market.
Prime Minister Modi invited Apple to build a manufacturing base in India during a meeting with Cook last year. Cook responded positively to that invitation as he believes that India is one of the most important growth areas for next decade given its population of 1.3 billion.
Government sources indicated that the Prime Minister will likely convince Cook to establish Apple’s production facilities in India.
Cook is also expected to meet with industry partners including Sunnil Mittal, the founder of Bharti Airtel, the biggest mobile operator in India.
India is important for Apple
Vishal Tripathi, a research director at Gartner, commented, “Cook’s visit shows how important India has become for Apple and will likely set the stage for the expansion of Apple ecosystem in India.”
Apple needs India to boost its iPhone sales since the U.S. and China markets are tapering. The tech giant reported it sold 51.2 million iPhones in the second quarter, down from 61.2 million in the same period last year.
Last year, more than 100 million smartphones were sold in India. That number is expected to increase by 25%. Apple has 2% market share in the country. The company’s iPhone sales climbed 56% during the first three months of this year.
Apple opened its first technology development center in the Hyderabad. It was previously reported that the cost of the center was around $25 million and the tech giant could create 4,500 jobs.
The tech giant is also seeking to open its first retail store in the country. In February, it was report the Indian government was planning to approve Apple’s application to establish retail outlets.