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Tim Cook Woos India With Two Big Bang Announcements Apple's big plans for India.

By Ritu Kochar

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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It's just day two of Tim Cook's visit to India and we already have two big announcements that have filled the Indian startup ecosystem with joy. The much anticipated visit of this second CEO of Apple Inc. is turning exactly how everyone wanted it to be – filled with new announcements that would benefit both Apple and India together.

What are these new announcements, let's have a look:

Announcement 1: A Design and Development Accelerator in Bengaluru

On May 18, Apple announced the launch of a mobile app development centre in Bengaluru. The company said in a press release that this centre would "support engineering talent and accelerate growth in India's iOS developer community'.

Indian remains the second largest smartphone market in the world. It also stands firmly at third position in terms of number of startups. These startups include apps which are developed for both iOS and Android by tens of thousands of developers. Encouraging this, the company will establish a Design and Development Accelerator in Bengaluru, the home of India's startup scene that will provide additional, specialised support for them.

Bengaluru is now home to more technology startups than any other part of India. Over one million people in the city work in the tech sector, and over 40 percent of graduates from local universities specialise in engineering or information technology. Apple's team will work to inspire and instruct developers on best practices, help them hone their skills and transform the design, quality and performance of their apps on the iOS platform.

"India is home to one of the most vibrant and entrepreneurial iOS development communities in the world," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "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."

Each week, Apple experts will lead briefings and provide one-on-one app reviews for developers. The facility will also provide support and guidance on Swift™, Apple's powerful and intuitive programming language created to build apps for iOS, Mac®, Apple TV® and Apple Watch®. Swift enables developers to write safer, more reliable code, save time and create richer app experiences.

The big announcement did not take long to reach the biggie of Indian startup ecosystem who gave big thumbs-up to this news. Commenting on this initiative by Apple, CEO of Zomato Deepinder Goyal said, "This is a huge vote of confidence in India's developer community and a tremendous opportunity to gain world-class design and development expertise. Apple's support will help drive growth and accelerate progress among the country's vast talent pool."

Snapdeal's CEO and co-founder, Kunal Bahl joined in the spirit and said, "We have worked closely with Apple to transform the Snapdeal app and offer our users the best possible experience. 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, he added.

Expected to open in early 2017, NASSCOM President R Chandrashekhar expects "far-reaching effects for the area's rapidly growing and highly talented developer community' with this Design and Development Accelerator. "The skills and training they gain through this effort will significantly improve their app design and help them reach a broader market. Initiatives like these move the country forward in our efforts to advance a growth-led and sustainable technology sector," he added.

Announcement 2: A Development Office in Hyderabad just for Maps

It seems that a night of partying with Bollywood stars did a lot more good than anyone anticipated. It must have really increased Tim's belief in India for the next day itself he presented everyone with big bang news.

Jokes aside, Day 2 of Cooks' visit has come up with exciting news of opening of a new office in Hyderabad. This Development Office will focus on development of Maps for Apple products, including iPhone®, iPad®, Mac® and Apple Watch®.

"Apple is focused on making the best products and services in the world and we are thrilled to open this new office in Hyderabad which will focus on Maps development," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "The talent here in the local area is incredible and we are looking forward to expanding our relationships and introducing more universities and partners to our platforms as we scale our operations."

When compared to Google Maps and Nokia's Here, Apple has been seen as a slow coach in mapping services. Catching up, Apple has been continually updating and adding new features to Maps, including 3D views, the Flyover® feature and tools to help customers find convenient places to shop, eat and explore nearby areas. With iOS 9 Apple added Transit, offering a combination of trains, subways, buses and walking, which is already available for more than 300 cities around the world.

Across India, Apple supports over 640,000 iOS app developer jobs and other positions related to the iOS ecosystem. The new facility, located on the Waverock campus, will provide a new certified home for the expanding Maps team. This investment will accelerate Maps development and create up to 4,000 jobs, a news which has made everyone happy.

According to Cybermedia Research's insights, the Andhra Pradesh telecom circle which includes the states of present Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, make up 7% of the country's subscriber share of the total 774 million GSM subscriber base, as per COAI March 31, 2016, data.

This should be a strong focus area for the Cupertino-based smartphone maker as the research firm states that Andhra Pradesh circle should be on the priority list for Apple to sell iPhones. According to the report this makes Hyderabad the prime location for setting up its first technology development centre that will run the maps division.

Celebrating this news, Telangana Chief Minister Kalvakuntla Chandrashekar Rao said, "We are honoured Apple chose Hyderabad as a home for its Maps development office. This will create thousands of jobs here and is a testament to our proactive approach, quality infrastructure and the excellent talent base we have in the region."

"Apple is one of the most innovative companies in the world and we are very proud they chose us to partner with for this important project," said Anup Jindal, RMSI's CEO who was rejoiced by this news. "We are experts in geospatial data and we will be hiring thousands of people from the local area to support this effort."

The visit by Tim Cook will lead to some big changes, a glimpse of which we have seen in the announcements itself. Standing firm with 56% growth amid a global slowdown in smart phone sales and also a slump in the growth of its flagship iPhone in key markets such as the US and China, India is proving to be the opportunity Tim Cook once said it was.

And after all these big announcements, we cannot help but wonder what's in store when Tim Cook meets Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this week.

Ritu Kochar

Former Staff, Entrepreneur India

Ritu used to work as a Feature writer for Entrepreneur India.
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