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'India' Articles

WhatsApp Likely to Launch Peer-to-Peer Payments in India Within 6 months

Mobile chat platform WhatsApp could be set to roll out peer-to-peer payments in India, which is home to its largest market with over 200 million users (via TechCrunch). According to India-based media company The Ken, WhatsApp plans to use a cross-bank payment system called UPI, which is backed by the government, to enable payments between users within the next six months. WhatsApp has neither confirmed nor denied the claim, but there are precedents for the messaging service to move into mobile payments. During a visit to the country in February, WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton met with India's IT minister and said the company was "in the early stages" of exploring how it might incorporate payment systems into the platform. Last week, Swedish-based phone number lookup service Trucaller introduced user-to-user payments in India via a tie-in with ICICI Bank, which makes use of the same UPI system WhatsApp is said to be integrating. Facebook has had a payments system in its Messenger app for some time in the U.S., but WhatsApp is far more popular in India and is already being used there as an e-commerce portal despite not yet offering any features that explicitly support the practice. Samsung launched Samsung Pay in India for select Samsung Galaxy series devices last month, after it partnered up with Axis, HDFC, ICIC, SBI and Standard Chartered banks, and embraced the UPI standard. Apple spoke with the Indian government about introducing Apple Pay back in 2015, while talks with several banks in the country about incorporating the system are said to be ongoing.

Apple Opens iOS App Accelerator Development Facility in India

Apple has officially opened its new App Accelerator in Bangalore as part of an effort to support engineering talent and boost growth in India's iOS developer community (via Mashable). At the center, experts will lead briefings and provide one-to-one app reviews for developers. Apple is calling the facility "the first of its kind" in the country, and says it will provide specialized support to developers as well as tools to help them push the boundaries. "We are impressed by the great entrepreneurial spirit in India, and are excited to provide a platform for these developers to share their innovations with customers around the world," said Philip Schiller, senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing at Apple.  "In just the first few weeks, we've already seen some incredible developers here at the App Accelerator Bengaluru, including Practo and Reliance Games, create innovative apps that can meet the needs of customers in India and around the world."Apple first announced its plans for the App Accelerator back in May 2016, during CEO Tim Cook's high profile visit to India, when he met with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Since then, the company has been steadily ramping up its presence in the country, negotiating terms with Modi regarding manufacturing and development, seeking tax concessions for locally manufactured iPhones, and setting up a local distribution center.

Apple to Begin iPhone 6, 6s, and SE Manufacturing in India Over Next Few Months

Government officials in India today confirmed that Apple will begin manufacturing iPhone devices within its Bangalore plant over the next few months, in a bid to boost the company's presence within the Indian smartphone market. As was previously reported, Wistron will take the brunt of iPhone manufacturing in the country, focusing on the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s, and iPhone SE. In terms of timeline, the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6s will begin production in the next four-to-six weeks, while Wistron will hold off adding the iPhone SE to the production line for another three months, according to the officials familiar with Apple's plans speaking to The Wall Street Journal. Today's news falls directly in line with a report from February that said Apple was planning to begin assembling iPhone SE devices within India in the coming months. “Almost all preparations have been done for launching Apple’s first phase project in Bangalore through Wistron,” the official told The Wall Street Journal. “We’ve been working hard to develop our operations in India,” an Apple spokeswoman said. “We appreciate the constructive and open dialogue we’ve had with government about further expanding our local operations.” A Wistron spokesman said the company doesn’t comment on “rumor or speculation.” Apple has been slowly and steadily ramping up its presence in India, over the past few months laying the groundwork by negotiating terms with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking tax concessions from locally manufactured iPhones, and setting up a local distribution center to streamline logistics as its

Apple to Start Assembling iPhone SE Handsets in India in the Coming Months

Apple is to set to begin ramping up assembly of the iPhone SE at its Bangalore manufacturing plant in India in the coming months, sources said on Friday (via Reuters). Last month, Apple agreed a deal with the Indian government to commence manufacturing operations in the Karnataka-based facility, with Taiwanese manufacturing partner Wistron reportedly winning the contract to set up the plant and focus on assembling Apple's phones. That groundwork now appears to have paid off, with Wistron almost ready to begin assembling the lower-priced iPhone SE model and kick-start Apple's local production in India, home to the world's fastest growing major mobile market. Recently, Apple has been in talks with the Indian federal government in relation to possible tax concessions if it agreed to manufacture its phones locally. However, industry sources with knowledge of the matter say the initial manufacturing of the iPhone SE is not contingent on any such concessions. The Economic Times reported on Friday that Apple planned to initially assemble 300,000 to 400,000 iPhone SE handsets in India, but an industry source told Reuters the numbers would be substantially lower to begin with. The source also said it's too early to say what other iPhone models would be assembled at the Bengalore plant. The move comes as Apple looks to offset slowing growth in China by boosting its share of the Indian mobile market, which is currently dominated by handsets far cheaper than iPhones. Samsung, Xiaomi, Vivo, and other players command the market there, where most phones are sold priced

Apple Supplier Wistron to Manufacture iPhones in India

Apple has agreed to a deal with the government of Indian state Karnataka to begin manufacturing iPhones in Bangalore, reports The Times of India. The Karnataka government announced that it had approved Apple's proposal to "commence initial manufacturing operations" in a press release. Apple's desire to open a manufacturing hub in India started after Prime Minister Narendra Modi began promoting his "Made in India" initiative. Apple manufacturing partner Wistron will make the iPhones in a new plant, reportedly beginning with the iPhone 8. Over the past couple of months, Apple and Indian officials began narrowing down possibilities to manufacture products locally. Last month, Apple finally chose a Karnataka-based facility over competing bids from other Indian states Gujarat, Maharashtra and Telangana. During negotiations, Apple was said to be seeking a number of tax and other incentives, including the possibility of long-term duty exemptions. The government said it's in discussions with Apple for other potential collaborations, but declined to say what they could be. The move is a major step for Apple as it looks to solidify its footing in the subcontinent so it can access India's customer

Apple Has 'Constructive' Meeting With India About Local Manufacturing Opportunities [Updated]

Apple on Wednesday said it appreciated the "constructive" dialogue it had held with officials from India regarding the expansion of its local operations in the country. Earlier this month, reports indicated that a high-level meeting would be taking place between the two sides, with Apple seeking concessions from the Indian government if it agreed to manufacture products locally. That meeting now appears to have taken place, although in a statement given to Reuters today, Apple offered little hint as to the outcome of those discussions. "We've been working hard to develop our operations in India," Apple said in a brief statement. "We appreciate the constructive and open dialogue we've had with government about further expanding our local operations." Apple was said to be going into the meeting looking for a number of tax and other incentives, including long-term duty exemptions, but the Indian government recently appeared to push back against those demands, suggesting that it would review its entire mobile manufacturing policy instead. However, the government's IT ministry offered the most recent indication that the government was willing to listen to Apple, saying it would consider any requests for incentives with an "open mind". In a report by The Times of India last month, Apple was said to be looking into building an iPhone manufacturing plant in Bangalore, with Wistron as a partner. Earlier this week it was revealed that Apple had tapped Wistron as its first major supplier in India for this year's iPhone 8. Update: According to a senior official in

Apple Selects Wistron as First India-Based Supplier of the 2017 iPhone

Apple has tapped manufacturer Wistron as the first major supplier in India for this year's iPhone 8, following multiple reports that the company has been looking into manufacturing its products locally in the country. According to a new report from DigiTimes, Wistron will become the first original equipment manufacturer for 2017 iPhones, while Foxconn and a collection of other suppliers are being eyed as back up OEMs "if demand increases." In a report by The Times of India last month, Apple was said to be looking into building an iPhone manufacturing plant in Bangalore, India with Wistron as a partner. That plant is believed to have production up and running by April and be a major contributor to the Indian iPhone supply chain by the end of 2017. In today's DigiTimes report, Wistron is specifically mentioned to have expanded smartphone production capacity in both India and China. Apple has reportedly selected Wistron to be the first OEM in India for new iPhones to be launched in 2017, while Foxconn Electronics and other makers will become second OEMs if demand increases. In preparation for OEM production, Wistron has expanded smartphone production capacity in Kunshan, eastern China, and in India. Wistron chairman and CEO Simon Lin declined to comment. Apple has been attempting to increase its presence in India throughout the past year, most recently looking into manufacturing its products locally, while also creating a new distribution center in India to consolidate its logistics and supply chain. The company asked for tax concessions from the Indian

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)