- Tim Cook said during an interview with Fox Business that the Trump administration enabled Apple to enter the Indian retail market.
- Previously Apple was only permitted to sell its devices in India via third parties, as local laws meant the firm would have to partner a local company to fully enter the market.
- According to Cook, that has now been changed after the Trump administration lobbied the Indian government.
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The Trump administration helped Apple get a foothold in India, CEO Tim Cook told Fox Business in an interview recorded Thursday.
The tech giant announced last week that it would begin online sales in India this year, and aim to open its first store in the country next year. Previously Apple had only been able to sell its products in India through third-party sellers, both online and in physical stores. In 2018, Apple held less than 3% smartphone market share in India thanks to the prevalence of Chinese brands.
Tim Cook told Fox Business that local laws forcing it to partner with a local retailer is what prevented it entering the market for so long.
“I see India as a huge opportunity for us, for years we could not enter there unless we entered there with a partner […] and we did not want to do that, we wanted to maintain control of our brand and so forth,” he said.
Apple will no longer have to find a partner as, according to Cook, the Trump administration lobbied on Apple’s behalf.
“The administration worked on this with the Indian government and that change has been made,” he said.
Donald Trump met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for preliminary trade talks on a state visit to India last week. Cook is notable among Silicon Valley CEOs for having relatively close ties to President Trump, and Apple was narrowly able to dodge a 15% tariff that would have hit its iPhone production.
Their relationship has not been straightforwardly friendly. Early this year Trump lashed out at Apple on Twitter for refusing to help the FBI unlock two iPhones belonging to a shooter, and in October last year he specifically hit out at Cook for removing the iPhone’s home button. He also accidentally referred to Cook as “Tim Apple.”
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