April 26, 2023
On April 17, 2023, Mumbai’s famous Swati Snacks, a quick-serve spot that slings street food, was abuzz with excitement. One of Swati Snacks’s diners that day was Apple CEO Tim Cook, who sat next to Bollywood star Madhuri Dixit as the two munched on vada paos. “Thanks, Madhuri Dixit for introducing me to my very first Vada Pav — it was delicious!” Cook later tweeted. He would go on to inaugurate Apple’s first retail store in India the very next day, and its second two days after that.
Apple, the most valuable company in the world at $2.3 trillion, has long relied on China to fuel its growth. Now, the tides are changing. The opening of Apple’s first store in India, where the company is committed to “growing and investing,” had been rumored since 2019. As of 2022, Apple’s market share in India was 4%, quadruple what it was in 2019, and Cook aims to have 25% of all iPhones manufactured in India by 2025.
Despite all the recent hoopla over Apple and India, however, the company’s focus on the subcontinent is perhaps not that surprising. The tech giant’s expansion to India comes full circle — almost exactly 49 years after its founder, Steve Jobs, arrived in India in search of “spiritual enlightenment.” Within two years of his return to California, Jobs would found Apple, changing personal computers forever.