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Apple wishes to cash in on the enormous market potential that India poses with its billion-plus population and the high growth rate of smartphone segment.

Apple is granting renewed focus on its Indian operations which gets a fresh new boost with the opening of a new office in the South Indian city of Hyderabad. Apple said the new office will accelerate the development of its Map feature while creating about 4,000 new jobs in the process.

That is not all as the company also stated a new design and development center will be coming up in Bangalore, which is expected to start operation by 2017. The company though hasn’t said when its Hyderabad office kicks off its activities.

Apple’s new found love for India also assumes significance in the backdrop of the sales decline that its iPhone range suffered from for the first time in 13 years. That also applies to its operations in China where sales have dropped off after witnessing high growth for the past few years.

What is also adding to Apple’s China worries include the recent move by the Chinese government to shut down its iMovie and iBook services, a key feature that is designed to add more sheen to the iPhone and iPad range.

That is not all as India is the only region where iPhone sales have witnessed growth, belying the global trend. While that might make for some consolation, Apple still has just about 2 percent market share in the country that is almost entirely dominated by Android smartphones.

The relatively high prices of Apple devices is another factor Apple has to its disadvantage given the extremely price conscious nature of the Indian market. While it tried to counter that by launching refurbished iPhones, the same has been firmly ruled out by the Indian government. A rethink on this also seems unlikely given the push to the government’s own ‘Make in India’ program that encourages setting up of local production units.

Apple CEO Tim Cook though has apparently been impressed with the quality of talent that he met with in India. “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,” Cook said in Hyderabad.

Meanwhile, Cook also took some time off his busy schedule to dine with the who’s who of Bollywood. While there has been no dearth of a star in the lavish party organized by Shah Rukh Khan at his sprawling Mumbai home, Cook clearly was among the most sought after.

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