The CEO of Apple, Tim Cook, is expected to land in India on 17 May as the first visit by a top Apple executive to the country. Apple has refused to provide details on Cook's itinerary while in India, however, he is expected to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 21 May.
Apple India's spokesperson Anand Bhaskaran has confirmed that Cook will be coming to India from China and is likely to stay in India for most of this week. Apart from his interaction with Prime Minister Modi, Cook is also expected to have conversations with Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal, as well as senior officials from Reliance Industries.
According to the Economic Times, India will try to persuade Apply to invest in smartphone and computer manufacturing facilities as part Prime Minister Modi's Make In India scheme. The scheme was launched in 2014 as part of nation-building initiatives to transform India into a "global manufacturing hub".
A source told the Economic Times: "Apple's manufacturing plans in India are unlikely to be frozen during this visit since the company feels the country still does not have the critical mass to support local manufacturing right now. The project though is on the cards."
During his visit, Cook is widely expected to announce Apple's plans to manufacture phones locally. Cook's visit to India comes following multiple visits from bosses at Facebook, Amazon, Google and Microsoft.
Apple has become increasingly focused on India within the last two years, with iPhone sales in the country increasing by 56% between January and March 2016, despite there being a global drop in sales. During the same quarter in China – Apple's second largest market after the United States – sales fell by 11%.
Describing Apple's potential in India previously, Cook said: "Because the smartphones that are working there (India) are low end, primarily because of the network and the economies, the market potential has not been great. But I view India where China was seven to ten years ago. From that point of view, I think there's a really great opportunity there."
Cook's visit also comes weeks after India rejected Apple's request to import and sell refurbished iPhones in the country. Many in India feared that it would interfere with the Make in India scheme that encourages local manufacturing.