Apple is still hard at work on its new campus in Cupertino, but while that glass spaceship takes shape, the Silicon Valley giant is also opening a technology development center thousands of miles from its hometown. The company announced today that it has invested $25 million in a new facility in Hyderabad, India. It hopes the 250,000-square-foot space will house 4,500 employees.
Right now Apple captures only 2 percent of the Indian smartphone market, trailing far behind cheaper counterparts like Micromax, Xiaomi and Lenovo. Why would it set up shop in a country where it’s so far behind? Well, amid slowing iPhone sales growth and a projected decline in revenue, the Indian market was a site of celebration for Apple at the end of 2015. Sales of the company’s flagship smartphone climbed 76 percent in India from the year-ago quarter.
Apple may be looking to open its own stores in India
In fact, while it’s far from the market leader, Apple does have the biggest presence in the 4G market in India. Prepping for better sales in the future, Apple recently applied for a single brand retail license. So far, iPhones, iPads and Macs have only been available in India through third-party sellers. The retail license is a sign Apple may be looking to open its own stores, as it has in China.
In a conference call last month, CEO Tim Cook called out India’s young demographic, as well as an expanding middle class with growing disposable income, as signs of a bright future in the country. Seeing the tables turn in its favor in India, Apple is getting creative with developing a local presence, taking aim at what could well be its greatest untapped opportunity.