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Has Apple’s boss Tim Cook just opened pathway for big corporates to pour into India?

Apple CEO Tim Cook and Deirdre O'Brien, Apple's senior vice president of Retail and People greet people at the inauguration of India's first Apple retail store in Mumbai, India

Will Apple Inc’s top boss Tim Cook’s India visit drive more multinationals to look at expanding operations in the country? Cook during his visit to India last month launched two retail stores –one in Mumbai and one in New Delhi. Cook also met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and expressed his keenness to invest more in India.

That is not all. In the company’s earnings call held a few days ago, he mentioned India as many as 20 times.

Industry captains opined that Cook’s viewpoint on India is a “great advertisement” and will encourage many multinationals to either foray into India or expand their operations especially since it is slated to remain the fastest growing major economy in the world.

“India is an incredibly exciting market. It’s a major focus for us,” he said, adding that the country is at a tipping point. Modi and his team have been aggressively trying to position India as the next investment destination hub amid the rising global uncertainties.

Phillipp Ackermann, German ambassador to India recently told Mint that companies such as Siemens and Deutsche Bahn are interested in building semi-high speed rail tracks here. The “interest in India is very palpable,” he said.

Similarly, a report prepared by the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) revealed that more than 72 per cent of the Japanese companies are willing to expand their operations in India. For China, the number is small at only 33.4 per cent.

“Japanese companies Panasonic, Toshiba, Hitachi — are also investing large chunks to develop their R&D (research and development). The idea is to make in India for the global markets,” Takashi Suzuki, Chief Director General (South Asia) told India Narrative earlier.

Companies are also keen on tapping potential in new sectors like digital economy, healthcare, green technology and retail among others.

“The focus now is on India. In an internal call to discuss growth and future challenges, the thrust was on the India market. Though China’s economy has opened up, the enthusiasm over China seems to be waning,” a chief executive officer of a US based multinational company told India Narrative on condition of anonymity.

India’s thrust on boosting infrastructure along with the PM Gati Shakti– a mega multi modal infrastructure project aimed at easing logistics challenges will also boost investments, the CEO said.

“The progress of the PM Gati Shakti is being watched, as connectivity will play a big role in drawing investments,” he added.

Meanwhile, India’s manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index in April released by S&P rose to 57.2 from 56.4. PMI is considered an important data point indicating the existing trends of economic activities especially in relation to the manufacturing sector, capturing upstream and downstream activities.

Also read: India emerges global leader in Services Index ahead of China