New Delhi– “I am looking at India holistically and we are here for the next thousand years,” Apple CEO Tim Cook asserted on Friday as the 55-year-old chief of Cupertino-based tech giant entered the final leg of his highly “encrypted” four-day India tour and was slated to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday.
In an interview given to the news channel NDTV, Cook said: “India is much more strategic. We are thinking about a really long innings in the country. We are here for next thousand years. We are not making the most but the best. We will never make a product that we are not proud of.”
“Apple has a bright future for retail in India. We will sell pre-owned phones with new warranty. We want India to have best Apple products,” he stressed, adding that he instantly feels like he belongs here in India.
Asked about China, Cook said: “India is different than China,” adding that the announcements about Apps development facility in Bengaluru and Maps Development Centre in Hyderabad were just the beginning.
At an event in the capital, Communications Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said: “I complement Apple chief executive for a public commitment of one thousand years in India. We are ready to work together.”
Cook later met Sunil Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel, one of India’s leading telecommunication companies which was the first to launch 4G in India and is set to offer it countrywide.
It is learnt from sources that almost their meeting at Airtel’s office lasted an hour and top officials of Airtel including Gopal Vittal, managing director and CEO (India & South Asia) were also present.
Kavin Mittal, founder and CEO of hike messenger, also made a presentation to Cook.
“You will see a reliable signal quality after 4G which is critical for India’s progress,” Cook had earlier told NDTV.
According to a recent report by global investment advisory CLSA, India’s 3G and 4G subscribers have tripled to 120 million in 24 months but as affordability increases, the market will expand to 300 million by March 2018.
These 300 million subscribers will account for 60 percent of sector revenues. Bharti Airtel and Reliance Jio, the only operators with pan-India 4G spectrum in 2,300 MHz, will lead this opportunity.
“We are also planning to bring Apple Pay to India,” Cook also told NDTV. Apple Pay is a mobile payment and digital wallet service that lets users make payments through Apple devices.
“There is nothing like having customers telling neighbours you should buy Apple products. Word of mouth is the best marketing,” he observed.
Cook arrived in New Delhi after watching an Indian Premier League (IPL) match in Kanpur on Thursday and fell in love with the game. “Found cricket unbelievably exciting. I’m totally hooked on it,” he said.
Cook began the Delhi leg of his visit with a call at his corporate office where he was greeted by Apple India employees.
Defying the scorching heat, Cook visited an Apple store situated at DLF Galleria, Gurgaon. “I went to one store in the morning and I was very happy what I had seen there,” he told the TV channel.
On the second day of his India visit, he inaugurated the tech giant’s map development centre in Hyderabad and visited a women’s college.
For the map development centre, Apple has partnered with Noida-based RMSI, a leading IT services player that offers GIS, analytics and software services.
Cook also revealed plans for an iOS app design and development facility in Bengaluru a day earlier.