Apple continues APAC push with new Indian iOS developer hub

US devices giant Apple continues to unveil new initiatives in the major APAC market, including the announcement of a Design and Development Accelerator in Bengaluru, India.

Formerly known as Bangalore, Bengaluru is positioned as the home of India’s startup scene by Apple. This developer hub, which will open next year, is designed to kick-start the development of iOS apps specific to India, which Apple must be hoping will increase demand for devices such as the iPhone and iPad in the country.

The main driver of iPhone growth for Apple in the last few years has been China, which now accounts for a quarter of Apple’s total revenues. However Chinese revenues were down 26% in Q1 2016 and it seems Apple has exhausted all the significant growth it’s likely to get from that market.

India has a population of over 1.2 billion and recently overtook the US to become the second largest smartphone market (behind China), but according to Counterpoint Research Apple only has a 2% share and it will have identified India as is next major growth driver.

To do so it faces a similar challenge to China a few years ago: a relatively impoverished population. Per capita GDP in India is actually much lower than in China – around $1,600 and $8,000 in 2015 respectively, according to the IMF – so the challenge there is even greater. Apple will have high hopes for the lower-priced iPhone SE in India and initiatives like this developer hub will be designed to support that initiative.

“India is home to one of the most vibrant and entrepreneurial iOS development communities in the world,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO, who is currently visiting India. “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’s investment in Bengaluru through its iOS Development Accelerator will have far-reaching effects for the area’s rapidly growing and highly talented developer community,” said NASSCOM President R Chandrashekhar. “The skills and training they gain through this effort will significantly improve their app design and help them reach a broader market. Initiatives like these move the country forward in our efforts to advance a growth-led and sustainable technology sector.”

Apple hasn’t given up on China, of course, and it seems to think software and services are the way forward there too. Last week it invested $1 billion in Didi Chuxing, the Chinese equivalent of Uber, which dominates that market. Earlier this week Apple saw fit to issue a press release solely to announce the addition Chinese instruments and musical loops to its GarageBand music composition app.

UPDATE 11:01 19/05/16: Apple has since announced the opening of a new office in Hyderabad which is intended to focus on upgrading and developing its Maps products for the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch product lines.

“Apple is focused on making the best products and services in the world and we are thrilled to open this new office in Hyderabad which will focus on Maps development,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “The talent here in the local area is incredible and we are looking forward to expanding our relationships and introducing more universities and partners to our platforms as we scale our operations.”

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