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Global Tech CEOs woo India – Rise of Indian Silicon Valley?

Source | LinkedIn : By Jayashree Patnaik

The past year has witnessed a flurry of global IT heads visiting India. It is increasingly becoming an important destination for global CEOs, from Google’s Sundar Pichai to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerburg followed by recent maiden visit by Apple’s Tim Cook. It is proving to be a lucrative market for global technology titans like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft whose CEOs have made a beeline for the country in recent months. As India overtakes United States to become the world’s second-largest smartphone market, the internet base of the country is rocketing and is estimated to exceed 400 million internet users. Not to mention about the colossal, yet-untapped chunk of the country’s 1.2 billion people. Additionally, the government has launched a massive Digital India program to take technology to the rural masses that will further boost technology adoption. India is indeed at the cusp of a digital revolution today.

Microsoft penchant for India
The upcoming visit of Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on May 30 this year has been making the rounds in IT circles. In November last year , during his previous visit, Nadella had delivered a keynote address at Microsoft’s ‘Future Unleashed’ event in Mumbai and had met industry leaders such as Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra and Axis Bank MD Shikha Sharma. He had also visited the campus of startup incubator T-hub and Microsoft development centre in Hyderabad during that trip. The series of trips underscore the relevance of the current Indian eco-system.

Apple eyes huge market potential in India
Apple CEO Tim Cook’s maiden visit to India in May this year has set the stage for Apple’s expansion plans in one of the world’s fastest growing smartphone markets. PM Modi and Cook discussed plans of Apple for its India business, including the possibility of manufacturing and retailing in the country. The technology giant is very optimistic about the huge market potential in India as the country will begin rolling out high-speed wireless networks this year. Apple is looking to expand its retail presence in India and is pursuing a license to set up its own stores, which could start to open as early as next year. Apple has announced its first development centre in India in Hyderabad, where over 150 Apple developers will work on Apple Maps. The centre would later move to Apple’s own campus in or near the city and expand to 2,500 employees. Apple also announced a “design and development accelerator” in Bangalore, India’s tech and start-up capital. The centre will provide support to iOS app developers in India creating innovative mobile apps for its iOS platform. Apple’s team will work with developers on best practices, help them hone their skills and transform the design, quality and performance of their apps on the iOS platform.

Apple iPhones are made by Taiwanese firm Foxconn in China. Reports this year said Foxconn is likely to set up a plant in Maharashtra to make Apple devices which will be a boost for the “Make in India” manufacturing push.While these plans have not been confirmed yet, the firm has taken up space near Mumbai, for making handsets for Chinese vendor Xiaomi and Indian operator Reliance Jio.

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