After a five-day long visit, Apple CEO Tim Cook left India with a note that he can't wait to return to the country.
The visit of Cook coincided with 25 years of the iPhone maker's presence in India. Cook arrived in India on Monday. The visit started with the launch of the first official Apple store in Mumbai on April 18 followed by a second in the national capital on April 20.
"What an incredible week in India! Thanks to our teams across the country. I can't wait to return," Cook tweeted.
The company has been selling products in India through exclusive Apple Premium Reseller (APR) stores, large format retail chains like Reliance Digital, Croma etc, multi-brand retail stores and through e-commerce platforms.
Apple has over 100 APR stores in India.
One of the APR stores was located in the Select CityWalk Mall which had to shift to a nearby mall to pave the way for the Apple Store.
Apple started making iPhones in India in 2017 after Cook's last visit in 2016 with low-cost iPhone SE to suit the requirements of the local market. The company now exports "Made in India" iPhones.
Industry sources estimate that Apple exported iPhones in the range of USD 5-5.5 billion in the just-ended financial year 2022-23.
On his last day of the visit to India, Apple CEO met Bharti Group founder and chairman Sunil Mittal and both of them reaffirmed their commitment to work more closely in India and Africa, Bharti Group said on Friday.
"Tim Cook and Sunil Bharti Mittal had an hour-long meeting this morning. While expressing their satisfaction on the ongoing long relationship that Apple and Airtel have had, (they) reaffirmed their commitment to work more closely in the Indian and African market," Bharti Group said in a statement.
On Day 1, Cook visited the richest Indian Mukesh Ambani's house Antilla for a business meeting and is said to have met other top industrialists, including Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran.
After opening the first official store in Mumbai, Cook arrived in the national capital on the second leg of the visit on Wednesday.
Ahead of the opening of the Apple store at Saket, he visited the mesmerising artistic lanes of Lodhi Art District.
"Delhi's Lodhi Art District is a remarkable public space. Congratulations to the St+art India Foundation and so many amazing artists for capturing Indian life so powerfully. And thank you to Dattaraj Naik for showing me how you design your murals on iPad," 62-year-old Cook tweeted.
The walls of buildings lined up in the entire area don beautiful murals that the city is famous for.
During his Delhi trip, Cook met Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the iPhone manufacturer is looking to invest more in the world's second-largest smartphone market.
According to government sources, the iPhone maker is likely to double the employment base at its contract manufacturers in India to around 2 lakh soon.
Looking to replicate what China did to Apple's business in the last 15 years, the tech giant is eyeing India's massive market with an expanding middle class to power sales growth, and potentially make it a home base for the production of millions of Apple devices.
Cook during his visit met Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar.
As per the sources, Cook has sought government support to widen its components supplier base in India.
Apple CEO is learnt to have also discussed manufacturing facilities and app design and development accelerator in Bengaluru with both ministers.
Like in 2016, Cook again took out time to watch an IPL cricket match. He spent his evening in Delhi watching an IPL cricket match with Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor Ahuja, BCCI vice-president Rajeev Shukla and others. Cook had watched an IPL cricket match with Shukla in Kanpur during his previous visit.
"Thank you so much for an unforgettable evening!" Cook retweeted Ahuja's tweet in which she shared his photo.
On the last day of his trip, Cook visited some app developers to experience their technology.
"It's great to see so many developers across India pursuing their passion and sharing their ideas with users around the world. I had the pleasure of meeting Hitwicket, India's top-rated cricket app, Prayoga, an AR-based yoga app, and LookUp, an easy-to-use dictionary app," Cook tweeted.
He also shared his experience of "rangoli and kolam designs" made of flower petals, rice, and coloured sand that were captured on the iPhone.
Xiaomi launched its camera focussed flagship Xiaomi 13 Ultra smartphone, while Apple opened it's first stores in India this week. We discuss these developments, as well as other reports on smartphone-related rumours and more on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts. Affiliate links may be automatically generated - see our ethics statement for details.