The news that Apple has decided to start manufacturing phones not just in India, but specifically Bengaluru, is interesting, to say the least. It begs the question, why Bengaluru? Why not Hyderabad or Noida or even Chennai?
The answer to that question is neither easy to give, nor is it definitive; all I have to offer are pointers.
Startup heaven
Bengaluru is the only city from India and the second city from Asia to make it to the Global Startup Ecosystem Ranking. This is a list compiled by Compass and ranks cities on their ability to produce and support great startups. In fact, judging by the report, Bengaluru only ranks behind Berlin in terms of growth in the startup space and is the seventh largest investment destination in the world!
Startup growth stats
Image: Huffington Post
Other Indian cities haven’t even made it to the list.
The report also explains that Bengaluru has some of the youngest tech entrepreneurs in the world. In fact, the average age of an engineer in the city is much less than that of Silicon Valley (25 vs 36).
Nasscom’s 2016 Startup Report also states that Bengaluru, Mumbai and Delhi-NCR account for 70 percent of startups in the country. India is also home to the third largest startup ecosystem in the world, and this is led by Bengaluru, with Delhi-NCR close on its heels and Mumbai a distant third.
Start-up geographical clusters 1
Image: Nasscom
Bengaluru is also reported to be the “biggest investment destination”, accounting for over 40 percent of overall funding in the startup space in India. If you’re looking to start something new, Bengaluru is certainly the place to be.
As one entrepreneur explains, “I find this space more exciting. I find the energy and the sheer number of people starting up here are far more”, when comparing Bengaluru’s startup scene to Silicon Valley’s.
Government support
The Nasscom report goes on to state that the Karnataka government is “leading the wave of Indian startup ecosystem.” That’s saying something.
Government support startup
Image: Nasscom
Karnataka’s permanent secretary of e-governance has been quoted as saying, “Silicon Valley will be Bangalored!” With statements like that, and the amount of work the state government is putting in to back startups and the necessary ecosystem, the government’s commitment is in no doubt.
There’s a dedicated startup cell to implement the government’s startup policy, government grants and a great deal of supporting infrastructure.
Where else will Apple go?
Considering what these reports suggest, where else will Apple go? The company’s already investing in a massive, 40,000 square foot complex in Bengaluru for the development of apps; the engineers are there, the money is there and the manufacturing is coming up.
Start-up geographical clusters 2
Image: Nasscom
Microsoft, Amazon and IBM are also investing heavily in Bengaluru. In fact, data centres are already being set up there. It’s not without reason that Bengaluru is being called the Silicon Valley of India.
If you’re an engineer fresh out of college, would you rather be in Bengaluru or Chennai/Hyderabad? For most, the choice is obvious.
From that perspective, there’s no reason for Apple to want to go anywhere else.