The company said its estimates of employment in the country include its own employees, developers of apps for its iOS ecosystem, and workers with its supplier partners who support its manufacturing operations for several models of its flagship product, the iPhone, in the country today.
“Apple has been operating in India for more than two decades, and in 2017, we began manufacturing iPhones at a facility here in Bengaluru. Since then, we’ve expanded to Chennai, manufacturing several iPhone models for the domestic market and for export,” said Priya Balasubramaniam, VP of operations at Apple.
Balasubramaniam, who is a native of Bengaluru and lived in the city before moving to the US to pursue higher education, told audiences at the Bengaluru Tech Summit on Thursday that, “Today, Apple supports around 1 million jobs in India from our own employees to the fast growing iOS app economy to our work with supplier partners.”
While not detailing Apple’s investments in India, she said that the company after making available its entire range of products to customers in India through its online storefront last year, is now looking to open physical retail stores, adding that Apple views India can play a role in the transformation of the manufacturing sector that is unfolding globally
She said that while some people describe manufacturing as a career of the past, but that was far from the truth, with it being transformed by technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, augmented and virtual reality, advanced robotics, and 3d printing, among others.
“Our manufacturing operations in India achieved the goal of zero waste to landfill very quickly, and went further by taking the learnings of waste reduction into local communities where employees live. In India, our suppliers achieved a record for gaining platinum Zero Waste certification, seven suppliers in just six months,” Balasubramaniam added.
Keeping with the theme of utilising advanced technologies in manufacturing, she said that Apple was piloting the use of video machine learning to monitor and control production at its plants in India, improving productivity.
She added that for countries to take full advantage of these transformations in manufacturing, they need to ensure a large part of their workforce is trained in skills such as AI, ML, 3d printing and robotics, and need to be committed to lifelong learning.
Apple CEO Tim Cook in the most recent quarterly earnings call told analysts that the company has doubled its business in India.
According to Counterpoint Research, Apple was the fastest growing brand in the quarter ended September with a 212 per cent growth in sales compared to the corresponding quarter last year, giving it a 44 per cent share in the market for smartphones priced above Rs 30,000 in India.