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Apple takes a bite of India with new App Accelerator centre

It's one of many steps the company is taking to grab a bigger piece of India's pie.


India is becoming big business in Silicon Valley and Apple is getting in on the action.

In Bengaluru over the weekend, the company opened an App Accelerator, which aims to be a tech hub for startups. The centre was announced just under a year ago, when Tim Cook visited the country.

The App Accelerator will see Apple work with local app developers, helping to bring better apps to the iOS ecosystem -- and give local talent help along the way.

India is a huge deal, eclipsing the US in sales in recent years. For the first time, the country will even get its own Mobile Congress this year. However, Apple's footprint in the country is relatively small, with the company selling 2.5 million iPhones in India last year.

"India is going to be [Apple's] most important market in next five years," said Counterpoint Research analyst Neil Shah, "a ready pool of talent available to help Apple customize products to local tastes -- local language, content and so forth, is critical for success."

India has over a million software developers, Shah said, and Apple's Accelerator programs will lock many of them into iOS design, veering competition away from Google and Facebook.

It's one of many steps Apple is taking to embolden its profile in the country. The company is also looking to assemble phones in India -- allowing it to take advantage of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Make in India" tax incentive -- and brought back the iPhone 6 to entice the budget-conscious citizens of the country.

Apple has its eyes on other Asian countries too, last week announcing it would be opening up a research and development centre in Indonesia.

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