India is quickly becoming the world’s most important market for technology businesses. With over 1.2 billion people and current estimates putting smartphone users a little over 230 million, more potential exists in the world’s largest democracy than anywhere else in the world. This is especially important as in many markets, sales are beginning to slow but analysts are tipping India for double-digit growth over the next 2 to 3 years.
Apple has recognised this and has announced plans to open a developer centre in the country. Named the ‘iOS App Design and Development Accelerator,’ it will be located in Bangalore and work is already underway for an opening early next year.
India already has a substantial development community and this will serve to increase it’s credibility at a global level. Apple of course, stands to benefit through the development of more localised apps encouraging iPhone purchase in the one market they are failing to dominate. Apple’s estimated market share is difficult to estimate, but a recent report seems to represent the general consensus of around 6% of sales within urban areas. Compare this to close to 25% in China or a staggering 44% in the United States.
“India is home to one of the most vibrant and entrepreneurial iOS communities in the world. Opening this new facility in Bengaluru (Bangalore) will give developers access to tools which will help them create innovative apps for customers around the world,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook.
As the web and tech development ‘urban sprawl’ moves to Asia, countries that weren’t seen as important hubs of innovation now have the potential to dominate, not simply through excellent education and large populations, but also through the entrepreneurial spirit that Tim Cook mentioned. Indian entrepreneurs especially have made extraordinary inroads, both locally and in western countries. Through this, they have been responsible for the creation, enhancement and maximisation of cutting-edge technologies that have changed the technology landscape.
So now, as other businesses follow Apple’s suit and the knowledge economy moves east, the pressure will be on other countries to increase innovation through technology, not simply to offer services to complement other services. Through this smart move by Apple, it’s not only developers and consumers in India that stand to benefit but also consumers everywhere.