New Delhi, May 20: Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today lauded Apple CEO Tim Cook's long-term commitment to India and called for working in collaboration for growth and business opportunities.
"Since he has made a public statement that his commitment to India is going to be of 1000 years, I also take this opportunity publicly to compliment the CEO of Apple (Tim Cook) who is in India for his public commitment for the attachment with India. We need to work together for growth manufacturing investment and value addition," Prasad said at an Assocham event.
Cook, who is on his maiden visit to India, has said he believes it is "exactly the right time" to be in India as telecom firms roll out 4G high speed Internet services.
"We are not here for a year or few years, we are here for a long time, 100s of years. And we are a long term company," he had said. Apple, which is seeing declining sales elsewhere in the world, is betting big on India for growth as sales here saw an impressive 56 per cent growth in the January-March 2016 quarter.
Cook today met Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman of India's largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel and discussed matters like 4G roll out in the country and strong growth being witnessed in the Indian telecom space.
Prasad said that all the major companies are present in India and the smartphone demand in the country is growing. "Last year 10 crore smartphones were sold in India. I see very soon India will be home to 50 crore smartphones," Prasad said.
Apple is exploring opportunity to sell refurbished phones in the country but has faced resistance for its plan. According to sources, the company intends to get into manufacturing after it gets enough volume.
The government officials, however, want the other way round and sounded the company that it should start manufacturing first and the refurbished phone sale should be limited to handsets that have been produced in India.