Apple CEO Tim Cook on Wednesday announced in Mumbai that his company will set up a Design and Development Accelerator facility in Bengaluru to give a fillip to India’s tech startup scene.
“India is home to one of the most vibrant and entrepreneurial iOS development communities in the world,” said Cook, who is on an India visit.
“With the opening of this new facility in Bengaluru, we’re giving developers access to tools which will help them create innovative apps for customers around the world,” he said in a statement.
On the initial leg of his journey, Cook visited the famed Shree Siddhivinayak temple in Prabhadevi locality in Mumbai. He was ccompanied by Sanjay Kaul, head of Apple India. The temple visit for Cook was a precursor to a string of meetings scheduled with top corporates and Bollywood personalities later during the day. Cook also happened to meet Anant Ambani, son of business tycoon Mukesh Ambani, chairman Reliance Industries.
Cook was also scheduled to meet Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry and Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan.
Though his official programme has been kept under a lid, during his India trip, Cook is likely to visit the IT capitals of Bengaluru and Hyderabad and later New Delhi.
Apple’s Design and Development Accelerator facility is slated o open in early 2017. It will be a first of its kind centre and will provided support to engineering talent and the developer community in creating innovative mobile apps in India.
India is home to thousands of developers who make apps for iOS, arguably the most powerful mobile operating system in the world. iOS is the foundation for Apple’s flagship products iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The new initiative will provide additional, specialised support to the developers.
“India is home to one of the most vibrant and entrepreneurial iOS development communities in the world. With the opening of this new facility in Bengaluru, we’re giving developers access to tools which will help them create innovative apps for customers around the world,” Cook remarked.
Each week, Apple experts will brief and provide one-on-one app reviews for the developers, support and guide them on Swift, Apple’s powerful and intuitive programming language created to build apps for iOS, Mac, Apple TV and Apple Watch.
Swift enables developers write safer, more reliable code, save time and create richer app experiences and a recent report from Toptal showed jobs requests for Swift rising by 600 percent in 2015.
Bengaluru is the cradle of maximum tech startups in India with over a million people working in this sector and over 40 percent graduates from local universities specializing in engineering or IT.
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.
Zomato and Snapdeal along with NASSCOM president R. Chandrashekhar extended their support for the new facility.
“This is a huge vote of confidence in India’s developer community and a tremendous opportunity to gain world-class design and development expertise,” said Deepinder Goyal, CEO Zomato, in a statement.
“Apple’s support will help drive growth and accelerate progress among the country’s vast talent pool,” he added.
“Apple’s expert guidance on the interface and user experience has helped us build an app that our consumers love. We are thrilled Apple will have a local presence which will amplify our efforts to develop more high-quality apps for our digital commerce ecosystem,” said Kunal Bahl, CEO of Snapdeal, in a statement.
“Apple’s investment in Bengaluru through its iOS Development Accelerator will have far-reaching effects for the area’s rapidly growing and highly talented developer community,” added Chandrashekhar.
The Apple CEO 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.
The Apple CEO flew to the country from China, where Apple announced a $1 billion investment in the local ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing.
“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 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.
According to reports, the company is looking for new growth markets like India after its sales declined.