Indian PM invites Apple's Tim Cook to manufacture locally, talks Apple Pay, partnerships

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During a recent meeting, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reportedly invited Apple CEO Tim Cook to set up local manufacturing in his country, while also bringing up other topics like Apple Pay.

Cook "responded positively" to the manufacturing idea, an Indian government spokesman told the Times of India. The executive also advocated the idea of the app economy and its boons to entrepeneurship, and noted that Apple is making investments to expand its Indian operations.

Cook suggested that India is a special place for every Apple worker in that co-founder Steve Jobs visited the country as a young man, using the trip as inspiration for launching Apple.

The pair further brought up the topic of Apple Pay, and how it might be a part of initiatives like Jan Dhan Yojana, a Modi program designed to expand the reach of financial services such as bank accounts. Apple Pay is currently available only in the U.S. and the U.K., and so far there have been no rumors of an Indian launch.

Cook was allegedly very interested in becoming a partner in Modi's Digital India program, intended to make government services available electronically, wire up rural areas with high-speed Internet, and improve digital literacy.

Though iPhone sales have done better in the past year, India has proven a tough market for Apple, owing to factors like the unique structure of its phone market and rules on foreign ownership. Even though there are over 4,000 places where people can buy Apple products, there are no official Apple Stores.