India got a shout-out from U.S. President Donald Trump during his speech at Fort Myer in Arlington, Va. on Monday.
The president said the U.S. wants to strengthen its strategic partnership with India. Trump also prompted India to do more to help Afghanistan return to peace and stability. "We appreciate India's important contributions to stability in Afghanistan but India makes billions of dollars in trade from the United States and we want them to help us more with Afghanistan, especially in the area of economic assistance and development," he said.
The speech came at a time when India has become a hot bed for competition among tech titans. The president's relationship with China will absolutely affect the tech giants if nothing else because they outsource such a large amount of their data managing and processing to India, said Tigress Financial CIO Ivan Feinseth.
"India and China are huge markets for the leading tech companies, but those countries don't come without difficulties," Feinseth said. He noted that Trump has been pushing for India and China to reduce tariffs on goods being imported from the U.S. into their respective countries as a way to level the trading platform.
On Amazon.com's (AMZN) latest earnings call, the U.S. e-commerce giant said that India was still its prime international focus. "We continue to invest in India," CFO Brian Olsavsky said when asked about where countries rank in its international focus. "We're very hopeful with the progress we've made with sellers and customers alike in India and we see great momentum and success there, so we continue to invest and we have some of our best people in that business."
Last year, Amazon said it would spend an additional $3 billion in India, a nice top-off to its previous $2 billion spent in the country. For the first half of 2017, Amazon's losses from its international business totaled $1.206 billion, an enormous leap from the $255 million loss in the year ago period.
Amazon is keen to get a foothold in India because it has already lost out on the most populous country in the world, China, to Alibaba Holding Group (BABA) , according to Feinseth. That's the same reason why Apple Inc. (AAPL) is trying to increase its popularity in India after coming in fourth for top smartphone makers in China, according to global market intelligence firm IDC.
The India market, which boasts 1.3 billion people, is where the China market, now with 1.4 billion people, was a few years ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook said during the company's earnings call. "I'm very, very bullish and very, very optimistic about India," he said.
Apple is currently investing in India and launched an app accelerator center in Bengaluru this past May as a place for developers to get help from Apple's team in India. Apple also started to produce the lower-priced iPhone SE in Bengaluru in May in an effort to appeal to a population that makes an average annual income of $1,620, according to the India Times. Cook said during the earnings call that Apple is happy with the iPhone production in India so far.
Apple has a lot of room to grow in India considering it has yet to break into the top five smartphone makers in the country, according to a recent study from global market intelligence firm IDC. Samsung (SSNLF) leads with 28.1% market share, followed by Chinese smartphone makers Xiaomi with 14.2% market share, Vivo with 10.5% share, Lenovo with 9.5% share and Oppo with 9.3% share. Apple is grouped into the lagging "Others" category that makes up 28.3% of the market.
For the past quarter, Apple's revenue from emerging markets, excluding China, increased 18% year-over-year. However, revenue in China dropped by 10% in the past quarter, although that's an improvement from the 14% drop it saw in the previous quarter.