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'India' Articles

No Concessions For Apple in India As State Mobile Manufacturing Policy Up For Review [Update]

The Indian government has decided not to offer special concessions to Apple as part of negotiations as the company looks to build its first manufacturing plants in the country. According a report in the India Economic Times, New Delhi will instead review its entire policy on mobile manufacturing as part of a wider effort to promote its 'Make in India' initiative. This could meet some of the demands that Apple has made as well as benefit other phone makers, said officials. India needs to support an iconic brand like Apple for the success of the Make in India campaign, officials said. "Our import duty is high," one of them said. "As long as they are getting into exports, our objective should be to give them lowest duty so as to ensure that their product is competitive. Hence we may even relook at the policy as a whole." Another official said no decision had been taken but that concessions cannot be given to just one company. "Normally, similar dispensation has to be given to others similarly placed," he said. The issue will be looked at in detail at a high-level meeting between Apple executives and state officials set to take place next week. According to Wednesday's report, representatives from revenue, industry, and IT government departments will consider Apple's requests, which include a 15-year customs duty holiday on the import of iPhone kits, new and used capital equipment, and consumables. Last year, Apple requested permission to set up its own retail outlets in India without being subject to the state's compulsory 30 percent local sourcing rule, claiming

Apple Executives to Visit India to Discuss Local Manufacturing Plans

Apple executives will attend a high-profile meeting with Indian officials later this month in order to discuss the company's plans to set up a manufacturing plant in the country. Apple is said to be seeking a number of tax and other incentives at the meeting, set to take place on January 25, and could potentially ask for long-term duty exemptions. According to PTI, Indian representatives from a number of government departments will attend, including officials from commerce, industrial policy and promotion (DIPP), revenue, environment and forest, electronics, and IT. Last month it emerged that Apple was in talks with India to explore the possibility of making products locally, as well as set up a distribution center, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered his government to exempt foreign retailers for three years from a requirement to locally source 30 percent of goods solid in their stores. Apple sent a letter to India's federal government in December, outlining its manufacturing plans and asking for financial incentives, and this month's meeting would appear to be the next step in the negotiations. In September 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down with Prime Minister Modi to discuss various matters and Cook reportedly responded positively to Modi's invitation to open a manufacturing base in India. Foxconn was previously reported to be looking at the possibility of an expansion into India to produce iPhones and iPads, but Cook's outspoken interest in the possibility was Apple's first public interest in the expansion. Apple products are currently

Apple to Bolster Presence in India Through Tax Concessions and New Factories

Following reports this month that Apple has been in talks to manufacture its products locally in India, as well as set up a distribution center in the country, an article by Bloomberg today suggests that the Cupertino company is now asking India to offer up tax concessions on iPhones created within its borders. According to people familiar with the matter, Apple is asking for lower import taxes and manufacturing duties, which could lead to lower-cost iPhones -- a solution that Apple CEO Tim Cook has admitted is needed in India. In a separate report by The Times of India, industry sources claim that Apple is looking to build an iPhone manufacturing plant in Bangalore, India and begin production as soon as April. Specifically, Apple supplier Wistron is said to be the partner for the Bangalore facility, and the plant is poised to be a major contributor to the Indian iPhone supply chain by the end of 2017. Top sources in the company confirmed to TOI that Apple is "very serious" about beginning assembly operations —and thereafter full manufacture — in India by the end of next year. "Bangalore is being looked at seriously," said multiple sources within the company. Local manufacture will help Apple price its phones competitively as full imports attract 12.5% additional duty. Earlier in the year, Apple announced plans to build an iOS App Design and Development Accelerator in Bangalore in order to support engineering talent and boost growth in India's iOS developer community. Around the same time that the Accelerator was announced, the company revealed plans for a new

Apple Said to be in Talks With India to Manufacture Locally

Apple is in talks with India to explore the possibility of making products locally, according to The Wall Street Journal (via Reuters). The negotiations come as Prime Minister Narendra Modi tries to boost his 'Make in India' initiative, with Apple eager to make deeper inroads into the world's second largest mobile market. In June, Modi ordered his government to exempt foreign retailers for three years from a requirement to locally source 30 percent of goods solid in their stores. According to The Journal, Apple sent a letter to India's federal government last month, outlining manufacturing plans and asking for financial incentives. Apple and Indian state representatives have yet to comment on the matter. In September 2015, Apple CEO Tim Cook sat down with Prime Minister Modi to discuss various matters and Cook reportedly responded positively to Modi's invitation to open a manufacturing base in India. Foxconn was previously reported to be looking at the possibility of an expansion into India to produce iPhones and iPads, but Cook's outspoken interest in the possibility was Apple's first public interest in the expansion. Apple has partnered with e-commerce giant Flipkart to sell the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in India, where the phones launched in October. Apple does not yet have a license to sell products directly to consumers in India, which has led to buyers going through third-party retail stores to get hold of the company's flagship phones. Apple's iPhones currently account for less than 2 percent of Indian smartphone

Amazon Prime Video Now Available in Over 200 Countries, Including India

Amazon today announced that its Prime Video streaming service has expanded to over 200 countries including India, the company's largest available market outside the U.S. Prime Video is automatically available at no additional cost to Amazon Prime members in Belgium, Canada, France, Italy and Spain, and to customers in new Prime Video territories at an introductory price of $2.99 (or 2.99 euros) per month for the first six months. In India, the service comes bundled with Prime. Prime usually costs Rs 999 ($15) for an annual subscription, but to celebrate the launch of Prime Video, Amazon is currently offering annual membership to new customers at the heavily discounted price of Rs 499 ($7.50). That makes Prime Video the least expensive streaming video service in the country by some margin, with similar service Netflix costing Rs 500 on a rolling monthly basis. The aggressive pricing strategy indicates Amazon's continuing eagerness to make deep inroads into the Indian market. The company has been busy acquiring rights to local content over the last few months, and has partnered with several major Bollywood studios and distributors to make titles available exclusively on Prime Video. The catalog in Amazon Prime Video contains titles in several Indian languages including Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Tamil, and Telugu, as well as an English section featuring many popular U.S.

Pokémon GO Officially Launches in India Tomorrow

Monster chasing phenomenon Pokémon GO is finally coming to India, it was announced today (via Mashable). 4G LTE carrier Reliance Jio has partnered with Niantic, publisher and developer of Pokémon GO, to bring the hit game to the country on Wednesday. The partnership will see thousands of Reliance Digital Stores and other affiliated premises become PokéStops and gyms, where players are most likely to discover the game's iconic characters. "It’s exciting to see Pokémon fans in India step out and explore their neighbourhoods in search of Pokémon and Jio’s disruptive high speed 4G LTE Network will be an excellent way to experience the game,” said John Hanke, CEO and founder of Niantic in a press statement. Since its debut on iOS in July, Pokémon GO has been downloaded 500 million times. Despite the game not being available in India during that time, many fans in the country force-installed the game to join in the global phenomenon. Niantic updated the game yesterday with new characters, introducing Togepi, Pichu, and other select Pokémon that were originally found in Pokémon Gold and Pokémon Silver

Apple Looking to Set Up Distribution Center in India to Streamline Logistics

Apple is set to create a new distribution center in India to consolidate its logistics and supply chain in the country, according to The Economic Times. The center will be its first in India. Currently, Apple products are brought to India via several different cities: Chennai, Mumbai, Bengaluru, New Delhi, Hyderabad and Chandigarh. Each city has a different value-added tax (VAT) rate, which causes price discrepancies when the products are shipped directly from the airport to distributors. Further, online retailers in the country source their inventory from low-VAT territories so they can gain a price advantage over brick-and-mortar retailers. The distribution center, which Apple's global logistics partner DB Schenker will own and operate, will be in the city of Bhiwandi, near the city of Mumbai. An unnamed executive told The Economic Times that the center will "allow Apple to stock its products adequately, will ease operations and streamline its logistics and supply chains." It will also help Apple maintain consistent pricing for its products. Apple has been ramping up efforts to gain a larger foothold in India. In July, the Indian government officially adopted rules that would pave the way for the first Apple retail stores in the country. The company is also opening up an iOS app design and development accelerator and a campus focused on Maps development in the cities of Bengaluru and Hyderabad, respectively. The Cupertino company has also asked for financial incentives to make it easier to create an iPhone manufacturing plant in

Apple Inks Apple Music Deal With Indian Ride-Hailing Company Ola

Apple has partnered with Indian ride-sharing company Ola to make Apple Music available to customers who order a ride, reports The Los Angeles Times. Apple Music, along with services from Sony, Fynd, and Audio Compass, will be incorporated into a platform called Ola Play, allowing customers to control music, watch videos, read ebooks, and adjust in-car temperature, all from a tablet inside the car. Apple Music will be one of the audio choices, letting customers choose which music to listen to on the car's audio system while on their journey. Ola, which holds 75 percent of the ride-sharing market in India, believes the platform will "completely transform" the ride experience. Image via YourStory According to a Brulte and Co. analyst that spoke to The Los Angeles Times, Apple's Ola deal, combined with Apple's stake in Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing, points towards deeper connected car ambitions."Apple invested $1 billion in [Chinese ride-hailing giant] Didi, so it has access to all their data. Now Apple will have access to Ola's Apple Music data," said Grayson Brulte, president of technology consulting firm Brulte and Co. "So you start to put the pieces together. I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple try to gather all the data in the food chain." [...] Brulte said it wouldn't be surprising to see Apple shift from working on self-driving cars to working on the services and interfaces with which drivers and passengers interact. Think: The sleek and simple design of iOS, for cars.With its own car development ambitions on hold, Apple is said to be working to

Apple Seeking Stronger Foothold in India Through Financial Incentives for iPhone Manufacturing Plant

Apple is seeking financial incentives within India to make it easier to build a new manufacturing plant within the country (via The Economic Times). The company has asked for incentives specifically from the Department of Revenue and the Department of Electronics and Information Technology in India as a way to offset the high cost of building an entirely new iPhone manufacturing unit in the country. Throughout the year, Apple struggled with India's local sourcing laws, which requires 30 percent of goods sold by a foreign company to be manufactured or produced within India, a law which also hampered Apple's retail expansion because it creates most of its products in China. Over the summer, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made it easier for Apple to expand its retail stores in the country by approving a three-year extension on the local sourcing laws because of its single-brand company status selling "cutting-edge technology." These various extensions will only last for a few years, however, so Apple's seeking of financial incentives for its new manufacturing plant proves its long-term goal to have a consistent presence within India. "They are doing their due diligence from quite some time. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) will write to both the departments regarding this communication for their views," the official added. At present, to boost electronic manufacturing in the country, the government provides benefits under Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (MSIPS). The scheme provides financial incentives to offset disability

Indian Government Purchasing Cellebrite Technology Used to Bypass Locked iPhones

India's Forensic Science Laboratory is in negotiations to purchase the security bypassing technology used by Israeli mobile software developer Cellebrite, the company that the FBI enlisted to help unlock the iPhone of the San Bernardino shooter earlier in the year (via The Economic Times). The FBI needed Cellebrite's "mobile forensics solutions" to bypass the lock on the iPhone 5c in question, a method which Apple vehemently opposed throughout the lengthy public spat between it and the U.S. Justice Department. Cellebrite has worked with government and law enforcement agencies "around the world," and the FBI's interaction with the company was reported earlier in the year to cost somewhere around $1 million. The terms of India's purchasing agreement with Cellebrite were not laid out, but an anonymous official from the Forensic Science Laboratory said that the Indian government is expected to get the unlocking technology fairly soon. “We are likely to have the technology within a month or so. India will become a global hub for cases where law enforcement is unable to break into phones,” said a senior FSL official. All officials spoke on the condition of anonymity. As the FSL official mentioned, after its purchase of Cellebrite India intends to become the "global hub" for cases similar to the one between Apple and the FBI that occurred this year, since it will now own the "entire tool" to open encrypted smartphones. It's mentioned, although not in much detail, that requests the FSL receives by other institutes to unlock a smartphone "will be entertained at a fee."

iPhone 7 Arrives in More Countries Starting October 7

Apple has announced that iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus launch in India on October 7 and in Macao, Macedonia, Malaysia, Montenegro, South Africa, and Turkey on October 14. The smartphones also launch in Ukraine on October 7, and in South Korea and Thailand on October 21, according to local news reports. In India, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus will be available through online shops Flipkart, which began accepting pre-orders earlier today, and Infibeam. Pricing starts at Rs 60,000, with trade-in deals available. In South Africa, the smartphones will be available through Cell C, iStore, and select other carriers and resellers in the country. Pricing starts at R12 999 for iPhone 7 and R15 499 for iPhone 7 Plus. iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus launched in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and other first wave countries on September 16, followed by over 30 more countries on September 23. Additional countries will likely

Google Announces Offline Video Viewing and Sharing App 'YouTube Go'

Google has announced YouTube Go, a new app that lets users save videos for offline viewing and allows sharing of videos with nearby users over Bluetooth (via The Verge). The app includes options for previewing videos before download, and controlling video quality and file size, all of which are intended to benefit users concerned about cellular data limits and those who are located in areas with limited connectivity. The announcement was made at a Google event in Delhi, India, where the app will launch initially for users to test, before a broader rollout at a later date. The app will also make use of YouTube's Smart Offline feature, which automatically downloads videos overnight so that they can be watched at a later time in areas without a data connection. YouTube product management VP Johanna Wright said in a statement: YouTube Go is a brand new app to help the next generation of users share and enjoy videos. YouTube Go was designed and built from the ground up with insights from India, in order to bring the power of video to mobile users in a way that is more conscious of their data and connectivity, while still being locally relevant and social.Users in India can sign up to YouTube Go immediately, but it's unclear exactly when the app will launch in the country or elsewhere.

Apple Partners With E-Commerce Site Flipkart to Sell iPhone 7 in India

Apple has partnered with e-commerce giant Flipkart to sell the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus in India, where the phones are expected to launch on October 7 (via Mashable). The online retail partnership means Flipkart will source iPhones directly from Apple instead of from third-party suppliers, which it has relied on in the past. The deal will ensure Flipkart earns a higher margin on every sale, but likely fewer discounts for customers. Apple has also struck a deal with Indian e-commerce company Infibeam to directly sell its iPhones, but the partnership with Flipkart includes plans to sell iPads and Macs as well. Apple does not yet have a license to sell products directly to consumers in India, which has led to buyers going through third-party retail stores to get hold of the company's flagship phones. Traditionally, Flipkart has also used third parties to sell Apple products through its online marketplace, often with heavy discounts in order to compete with offerings from rival e-commerce giants like Amazon India and Paytm. Despite the potential loss of some customers looking for discounted smartphones, the new partnership guarantees Flipkart a robust supply chain and better marketing support from Apple. It should also help Apple retain more control over pricing, thereby avoiding a price war in India similar to the one that took place in 2015. Last year, Amazon India, Paytm, Flipkart, and Snapdeal offered heavily discounted iPhones to buyers, with the iPhone 6s base model, which is officially priced at Rs 63,000 ($945), being sold for as low as Rs 45,000 ($675)

Apple Facing iPhone Security Battle With Indian Government

India is seeking discussions with Apple about including state-funded biometric ID technology to authenticate its citizens, according to Bloomberg. The government initiative is part of a national biometric identity program called Aadhaar (Hindi for 'foundation'), which already covers fingerprint and iris-scanning authentication across a range of public and private services including banking. Apple is expected to resist opening up its hardware and software to the registration, encryption, and security technology, but doing so could see the company excluded from India's thriving smartphone market. One consulting group in India is predicting "a battle of ecosystems" between the state and tech companies. Indeed, signs of division already appear to have emerged. Just a few weeks ago, government officials are said to have invited executives from Apple, Microsoft, Samsung, and Google to a meeting to discuss embedding the technology into their devices, but Apple didn't even show up. According to Ajay Bhushan Pandey, who runs the Unique Identification Authority of India and convened the meeting, company representatives who did attend listened politely but were noncommittal. However, Pandey says he was unequivocal about the government's position and told the executives to return to headquarters and "work this out so we can have Aadhaar-registered devices". Since September 2010, India has collected citizens' biometric and demographic data and issued ID numbers to every man, woman, and child. More than one billion people have signed up to Aadhaar - over four fifths of

Apple Continues to Struggle in India as iPhone Sales Drop 35 Percent in 2016

Despite India's overall healthy growth in the smartphone market -- currently sitting as the third largest behind China and the United States -- Apple is having a tough time gaining ground in the country. According to a new report from Strategy Analytics, Apple saw a drastic percentage dip in iPhone users from 2015 to 2016, with 35 percent fewer iPhone devices sold this year. Earlier in May, Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted iPhones are too expensive in India, potentially harming the company's sales figures as it tries to grow. In its new report, the market research firm said that Apple sold just 800,000 handsets in Q2 2016, while in the same year-ago quarter the company sold 1.2 million units. These deflating sales numbers rippled into Apple's operating system marketshare in India, essentially getting halved down from 4.5 percent in Q2 2015 to 2.4 percent in Q2 2016. Director of Strategy Analytics, Woody Oh, pointed out a few ways Apple might go about course correcting its current struggles in the country, including the ongoing saga of boosting its retail presence in India. “Apple iOS fell 35 percent annually and shipped 0.8 million smartphones in India in Q2 2016. Apple’s smartphone marketshare has halved from 4 percent to just 2 percent in India during the past year. Apple iOS will need to reduce iPhone pricing to cheaper levels, attract more operator subsidies and enlarge its retail presence through Apple stores or online channels if it wants to regrow significantly in the future.” Apple Stores aren't as ubiquitous in India as they are in other parts of the world

Apple Leases More Than 40,000 Square Feet of Office Space for Bengaluru, India Center

Earlier this year, Apple announced plans to build an iOS App Design and Development Accelerator in Bengaluru, India, for the purpose of supporting engineering talent within the Apple ecosystem and giving developers tools to "create innovative apps for customers around the world," according to CEO Tim Cook. A few new details about the development center have emerged today, including news that Apple has leased more than 40,000 square feet of space for the Bengaluru offices. According to sources speaking with The Economic Times, the new Apple center will cover two floors at Galleria, located in North Bengaluru. The office space Apple is interested in is owned by Standard Brick Tile Company, and includes other companies like Atkins and Comviva as tenants within the building. Tens of thousands of developers in India make apps for iOS, the mobile operating system that is the foundation for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The company said Apple's team would work to inspire and instruct developers on best practices, help them hone their skills and transform the design, quality and performance of their apps on the iOS platform Apple's current plan is to open the new iOS App Design and Development Accelerator sometime in early 2017. The space in Bengaluru will be the second biggest of Apple's facilities in India, following the company's proposed 250,000 square foot campus in Hyderabad. That location will be the focus of developments in Apple Maps, with up to 4,000 employees expected to be hired at the site, which will cost the company $25 million to

Indian Government Set to Officially Adopt Rules Allowing First Apple Retail Stores

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to finally approve a three-year extension on local-sourcing rules within the country, granted to Apple due to its single-brand retail company status selling "cutting-edge technology." Those familiar with the matter, speaking with Bloomberg, claimed that the Indian government as a whole is gearing up to make it easier for all companies like Apple to meet a similar criteria. Before the so-called "shift" in Modi's government, India's rules on foreign direct investments required 30 percent of goods sold by a foreign company to be manufactured and produced within the country. Like most companies, the law prevented Apple's retail growth within India -- leading to a handful of third-party endorsed pop-up shops -- because of the fact that most of its goods are created in China. Apple filed for a new retail application when the new shifts in India's laws began to pick up steam, but some confusion still remained over what would be considered "cutting-edge" and "state of the art" technology, which could eventually grant a company another 5-year extension on top of the blanketed 3-year ruling being made common. It's this "push to clarify" the country's laws and procedures that Modi is spearheading, eventually expected to allow Apple to open its first retail stores in India. Modi’s push to clarify those procedures will pave the way for Apple to open a retail store, according to the people [familiar with the matter]. The new rules may also impact China’s Xiaomi Corp. and Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corp., which

Ruling in India Clears Way for Apple's Long-Awaited Retail Expansion

The Indian government today announced a few changes to its rules on foreign direct investments (FDI) within the country, which previously required 30 percent of goods sold by a foreign company to be manufactured or produced within India (via The Times of India). The rule stagnated Apple's retail store growth within the country due to most of its products being created in China. Now, Apple is going to be the recipient of a 3 year "relaxation" that India is introducing on its local sourcing rules, which was predicted earlier in the month, in addition to an extension of another 5 years on top of that if it can prove that the products it sells are "state of the art." India has previously exempted companies who proved such quality over the last few years, which prompted Apple to file a new application with the Indian government in May. Apple's plans to open stores in the country had suffered a setback as the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), under the finance ministry, red-flagged a panel's recommendation to relax the mandatory local sourcing norm for the Cupertino-based company to sell its products through the single-brand retail window. The panel comprising representatives from departments of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) and information technology had recommended a waiver from the 30% sourcing norm on the ground that Apple's products were "cutting-edge", which allows for doing away with the domestic procurement rule. If it gets the 5 year extension, Apple could open and run retail stores in India for 8 years without needing to source products

Netflix Announces First Original Series Out of India

Netflix today announced its first original television series from India, one of the 190 countries where its streaming service was launched in January. Netflix has seen fantastic success producing original shows for its American and English customer base, and the news follows similar announcements for original shows for the company's subscribers in Argentina and Germany. Netflix is partnering with Indian film and production company Phantom Films to make an English and Hindi adaptation of gangster thriller novel Sacred Games, by Indian author Vikram Chandra. Set in Mumbai, Sacred Games delves into the city's intricate web of organized crime, corruption, politics and espionage that lie beneath India's economic renaissance. It is described as "an epic masterwork of exceptional richness and power that interweaves the lives of the privileged, the famous, the wretched and the bloodthirsty". The series will be available globally, although the release date remains unknown. India's online markets are rapidly growing, and its film industry is estimated to be worth 192 billion rupees ($3.1 billion) by 2017. Earlier this year, it was reported that Apple executives met with TV producers and Hollywood studios about developing original TV shows that it would offer exclusively to its iTunes customers. Those discussions were also reportedly led by Cue and Robert Kondrk, vice-president of iTunes content. The original content could spearhead Apple's plans to launch its streaming TV service, which has been delayed due to its difficulties in securing deals with media

India May Exempt Apple From Sourcing Requirement For 'Two to Three Years'

The Indian government is prepared to allow Apple to open its first three planned retail outlets in the country without any sourcing requirement for their first few years of business, reports Times of India. As a rule, 30 percent of goods sold by foreign companies must be manufactured or produced in the country, a requirement Apple does not meet as its products are largely made in China. That obstacle initially appeared to have been removed for Apple last year, when India exempted retailers selling state-of-the-art goods from the rule, prompting the company to file a new application with the Indian government. However, a recommendation from the country's Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) to allow Apple to move ahead with single-brand retail outlets was shot down by the ministry of finance, which decided Apple's products do not fall into the cutting-edge technology category. Now, the DIPP and the finance ministry appear to be open to the idea of allowing Apple to set up shop in the country without immediately complying with the 30 percent rule. This would allow the company to look at the option of manufacturing in India and begin sourcing components locally as volume increases. Apple has reportedly already informed the government that it has started buying chargers from the country, which are also being exported. "It is only fair to insist on some local production and two-three years is a reasonable period. Five years may be too long," said the Times of India source, who did not wish to be identified. The developments follow