Apple CEO salutes Modi’s India

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New Delhi, Admitting that his business in India in the fiscal fourth quarter of 2018 was flat and weak currency trends are just speed bumps, Apple CEO Tim Cook said he is a big believer in the country and can’t wait for the future there.

In an earnings call after announcing Apple’s Q4 results late Thursday, Cook said he has had really great productive discussions with the Indian government.

“We’ve had really great productive discussions with the Indian government, and I fully expect that at some point, they will agree to allow us to bring our stores into the country,” Cook responded to a question.

“We’ve been in discussions with them, and the discussions are going quite well,” the Apple CEO added.

Cook noted that the currency weakness has been part of our challenge in India.

“But I view these as speed bumps along a very long journey, though. And the long term I think is very, very strong there,” the Apple CEO said.

The iPhone maker is seeking tax relief and other incentives from the government to begin assembling more handsets in the country and its proposal to set up a manufacturing unit is reportedly being evaluated.

According to Cook, “there are import duties in some or most of the product categories that we’re in and in some cases, they compound.

“This is an area that we’re giving lots of feedback on. We do manufacture some of the entry iPhones in India, and that project has gone well,” Cook told analysts.

Apple is currently assembling iPhone 6S in India with its partner Wistron.

“I am a big believer in India. I am very bullish on the country and the people and our ability to do well there,” Cook added.

According to industry experts, India is the fastest-growing among the top 20 smartphone markets globally, with a large untapped user base potential in Tier 5 and 6 cities and beyond.

The current smartphone user base in India is around 450 million which is set to grow by leaps and bounds.

Cook is aware of the tremendous growth opportunity in India.

“There’s a huge number of people that will move into the middle class. The government has really focused on reform in a major way and made some very bold moves.

“I applaud them for doing that and I can’t wait for the future there,” Cook said.

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