BENGALURU: Apple has launched an ambitious plan to tap into India’s startup ecosystem with the iPhone maker announcing plans to set up what it calls a “design and development” startup accelerator in India’s Silicon Valley, Bengaluru, at a time when the company is doubling down on India.
Apple CEO Tim Cook, who landed in India late on Tuesday night, said that the new accelerator facility would help iOS developers create innovative apps for the company’s customers globally and that the new facility would provide resources to support entrepreneurs.
ET had first reported on May 16 that Apple would announce plans for a new accelerator program during Cook’s maiden India trip. Apple said that the accelerator is expected to open in early 2017.
“India is home to one of the most vibrant and entrepreneurial iOS development communities in the world,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement. “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.”
Apple said that it would work closely with app developers to “hone their skills” and bring them up to speed with the company’s global standards and best practices.
“This is a huge vote of confidence in India’s developer community and a tremendous opportunity to gain world-class design and development expertise,” said Zomato CEO Deepinder Goyal. “Apple’s support will help drive growth and accelerate progress among the country’s vast talent pool.”
Apple said that the company’s in-house experts would lead briefings and provide one-on-one app reviews for developers, while the accelerator would also provide support and guidance on Apple’s programming language Swift. “Swift enables developers to write safer, more reliable code, save time and create richer app experiences,” Apple said.
Apple’s accelerator plans for India comes at a time when CEO Cook is betting on India to become a multi-billion dollar market for the company, amid a global slowdown in smartphone sales and also a slump in the growth of its flagship iPhone in key markets such as the US. Apple currently has around 3% volume share of the Indian smartphone market while by value it is around 11%, according to Counterpoint Research. However, in the premium segment or handsets priced over Rs 30,000, both Samsung and Apple are neck and neck, together accounting for more than 95% of the segment.