Phil Schiller, the Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing, was on hand to officially open a new center in India to help local developers build Apple apps, according to the Economic Times and other local news reports.
The goal of the new Bengalaru App Accelerator is to help Indian programmers build high-quality iPhone and iPad applications—both for a growing domestic market—and help them promote those apps worldwide. Bengalaru was formerly known as Bangalore.
Apple chief executive officer Tim Cook announced plans for this new effort last May during a trip to India. While India constitutes a huge market for smartphones, the company faces an uphill battle. Android devices by Samsung and other rivals outsell their Apple competitors by a wide margin, although Apple showed signs of growth in late 2016, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics.
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India is home to a burgeoning software development community. Last fall, research firm Evans Data found the Asia Pacific region had the fastest growing population of mobile app developers in the world, with India and China leading the pack. In an an interview in the Economic Times, Schiller estimated that there are nearly a half a million iOS developers in the country.
That’s one reason all the major U.S. tech powers are scrambling to build or expand footholds in India. Microsoft (msft) opened cloud data centers in three Indian cities in 2015, with IBM (ibm) following suit soon thereafter. Amazon (amzn) Web Services, a favorite among software developers, opened a new set of data centers in Mumbai last June.