At a time when there was a heightened discussion going on about Apple Computer Inc.'s possible manufacturing plans for India, its chief executive officer Tim Cook is likely to arrive in Hyderabad on Thursday to open Apple's first technology development centre outside the USA.
Apple management's decision to first look for leveraging the human resources in India for its new software offerings came to light last year with news reports suggesting that the iPhone maker was examining various cities in India for a possible location for its tech center.
After pitching hard for this facility, Telangana government gave first hints earlier this year indicating that Apple management had in fact zeroed in on Hyderabad for establishing the facility. Later, the company also shared the details about its India plans.
Earlier this month there were news reports suggesting that Foxconn, the Apple's OEM partner, was planning to invest $10 billion in Maharashtra for establishing a manufacturing base to produce iPhones and other Apple products. Apple was yet to confirm these plans.
Interestingly, Tim Cook's visit to Hyderabad was completely kept under wraps to an extent where the company management had informed the state government officials that only a team from Apple was coming on Thursday to launch the facility. The company never mentioned Tim Cook's name, according to the officials.
Apple management also wants to keep the event as a completely private affair, according to the officials. However, considering the international significance of Apple's project, the state government officials have been trying hard to persuade the company's visiting team to make the launch an open event and even invite the media apart from other government figures. "As far as we know Tim Cook has only this one single event on his programme schedule," a government official told Business Standard.
Apple has leased a sizeable space in the Waverock SEZ, an IT campus, owned by the American property development and consultancy firm Tishman Speyer in Gachibowli area. The company is setting up this facility for developing Maps support and services.
The Maps servers will be in the US but the digitisation and all the services and technical support will be done through the state of the art center created in Hyderabad, according to Jayesh Ranjan, Telangana government's IT secretary, who was actively involved in negotiations with the company on its India plans.
Apple was expected to lease about 2,50,000 square feet office space in the Waverock IT towers, which has a total 1.5 million square feet of built up area housing several other multinational and domestic IT and software development companies. However, the facility will be ready in phases and will be fully operational by early 2017, according to the officials.
The Telangana state IT department has facilitated the easy approval process and all approvals were accorded to the company, said Jayesh Ranjan.
Apple's decision comes as a big boost for the city of Hyderabad as the government of new Telangana state was trying hard to bring back the image of an investment friendly and IT destination to this city. The city's emergence on the global IT map started in the late 90's with global software giant Microsoft's deciding to set up its first R&D center out side its US headquarters in this city. Last year the internet technology company Google had signed an MoU to set up its own campus in a seven-acre plot allotted by the state government.
Apple earlier stated that its technology development center would be coming up with an investment of $ 25 million and likely to employ about 4,500 people over a period.
Home to the operations of almost all the big global and Indian IT companies, Hyderabad's IT exports in 2015-15 were pegged at Rs 66,276 crore. About 3.7 lakh professionals work in IT companies here.