Apple in India shows the future of tech

It wasn’t so long ago that critics derided Apple CEO Tim Cook for his ambition to build business in India, but now it all makes complete sense.

India has a lot to offer Apple and tech

India has and always did have a lot to offer Apple: a young population, education, a growing middle class and consumer market, and relatively low employment costs. Apple has also worked extremely hard with India’s governments to navigate that nation’s desire to protect its own economy while opening to manufacturing.

There’s a lot to unpack in that sentence, but in essence this seems to be why local manufacturers such as Tata are working with Apple’s important Taiwan-based production partners on new factories to support the Apple supply chain. Doing so creates a balance that lets local enterprises benefit as the multinationals move in.

It also seems to help encourage consumers to purchase the products. After all, it must surely reflect the huge amount of work Apple has done to reach consumers in India that it led India’s premium smartphone market last year, according to Counterpoint.

It means one in every 20 smartphones purchased in India last year was an iPhone. It also explains why Tata in December announced plans to open 100 Apple stores in India.

High demand, low saturation

To put a little context around this business, India is currently the world’s second-biggest smartphone market, bigger than the US, but characterized by significantly lower smartphone penetration (roughly 45%).