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Apple opening its first retail stores in India
02:29 - Source: CNN
New Delhi CNN  — 

Apple CEO Tim Cook met with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, pledging to invest further in the fast-growing economy as his company ramps up retail and manufacturing activities.

The visit underscores how the world’s most valuable company is continuing to pivot to India, eyeing its potential as both a consumer market and production hub. India is set to surpass China as the world’s most populous nation by the middle of this year, according to data released by the United Nations.

“From education and developers to manufacturing and the environment, we’re committed to growing and investing across the country,” Cook wrote on Twitter following the meeting.

Modi said on Twitter that the two had exchanged views on a range of topics, including “the tech-powered transformations taking place in India.”

Apple (AAPL)’s CEO is in India this week to open its first physical stores in the country, marking a milestone for the iPhone maker in the world’s second largest smartphone market after China.

Cook presided over the company’s second store opening in the capital of New Delhi on Thursday, after launching Apple’s first outlet in Mumbai earlier this week, greeting customers and taking selfies with employees.

Cook also met other officials including IT Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, who tweeted afterward that the pair had “discussed deepening Apple’s engagement in India across manufacturing, electronics exports, [the] app economy, skilling, sustainability and job creation especially for women.”

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, India’s deputy minister for information technology, said he was optimistic about how much Apple could expand its footprint in the country.

“I am very confident that this Apple-India partnership has a lot of headroom for investments, growth, exports and jobs — doubling and tripling over coming years,” he told Reuters.

Apple declined to comment, while India’s IT ministry did not immediately respond to a request for details.

Apple’s expansion in India coincides with its 25th year of operating in the country.

The California-based giant is the world’s second biggest smartphone maker behind Samsung (SSNLF), but its 6% share of the Indian market remains small.

Apple, which is considered too expensive by many consumers in the country, is dwarfed by India’s top five mobile vendors, led by Samsung and Chinese smartphone makers Xiaomi and Vivo.

The US firm’s share is expected to grow, however, as it continues to build out its retail presence in the country and more customers turn to high-end smartphones.

Apple has also been ramping up its manufacturing in India, where it first began making iPhones in 2017.