Hyderabad receives shot in the arm as Apple inaugurates maps development office

Multinational firms like Google, Microsoft, Oracle, and Cognizant have already opened their offices in the south Indian city.

The efforts of two-year-old Telangana state in wooing global IT majors received a major boost on Thursday with Apple Inc announcing the launch of a new office in its capital Hyderabad.

Located in the real estate firm Tishman Speyer's WaveRock campus in the IT corridor, the new facility will focus on the development of maps for Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple Watch, making it easier for people to find locations for entertainment and also providing information on public transport and navigation.

The company is reportedly planning to invest $25 million (170 crore rupees) on the facility, which is located on an area of 100,000 square feet with a staff of around 400 initially. It will expand its operations in the coming years by adding another 150,000 square feet and will provide employment to around 4,000 people.

In an official release, Apple CEO Tim Cook, who is visiting India for the first time to give a fillip to the company's business in the country, said that Apple was focused on making the best products and services in the world and that they were thrilled to open the new office in Hyderabad which will focus on Maps development.

"The talent here in the local area is incredible and we are looking forward to expanding our relationships and introducing more universities and partners to our platforms as we scale our operations," Cook said in the release.

More than 20,000 engineering students, approximately one third of them from IT, graduate every year in Telangana and Apple's new facility will provide them work opportunities and a challenging career.

In his remarks, Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao said that it was an honour for the state. "This facility will create thousands of jobs here and is a testament to our proactive approach, quality infrastructure, and the excellent talent base we have in the region," Rao added.

A visibly happy Telangana IT Minister K T Rama Rao, who was present at the programme, later tweeted: "Hyderabad becomes home to the largest tech development centre of Apple Inc outside of US. With Apple, Hyderabad now is proud to be home to 4 of the top 5 most valued tech companies' largest office outside USA."

Apple, one of the world's leading smartphone makers, replaced Google Maps with its own mapping service in iOS operating systems around four years ago. Since then it has introduced new features such as 3D views, Flyover feature, and the latest being Transit, which was added on iOS 9 Apple and shows several transport systems in hundreds of cities around the world.

Chairman and Managing Director of Hyderabad-based Indian Resources Information Management Technologies Limited, Subba Rao Pavuluri, said that Apple's new facility will be beneficial in terms of business for Indian companies and also for those looking for employment in the industry.

"Earlier Google was the only company in offering mapping services and though Microsoft tried its hand, it could not. Now Apple is going to be a competitor to Google," Subba Rao added.

Founder of Delhi-based ML Infomap Dr Manosi Lahiri said that the new office will surely give an impetus to the adoption of location apps on iPhone and iPad. It will also lead to greater emphasis on the quality of the maps being offered for India.

"A local development centre helps software engineers to get training and quick support, thus reducing the time for ultimately taking an app to the end user. This will be to the advantage of users of Apple products in the formal banking and telecom sectors, and also the general public. We should see a spurt in the number of local apps for the iPhone in a short time," she added.

Apple has chosen Delhi-based RMSI, a global IT services company providing geospatial and software services to its clients across the globe, as its partner for the project.