Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook's first full day in India mixed business with leisure as he met Tata Group Chairman Cyrus Mistry, ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochchar and Vodafone India CEO Sunil Sood among others, besides launching a startup programme. A night with the stars was to wrap things up on Day 1 - at Shah Rukh Khan's home, no less.
Cook, 55, who landed in Mumbai late on Tuesday night, started his multi-city India tour with an early morning visit to the Shree Siddhivinayak Temple at Prabhadevi. Cook, who was accompanied by Apple India head Sanjay Kaul, met Anant Ambani, the son of Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, at the temple.
"Anant met me last night and after taking darshan, he told me that the CEO of Apple would be coming for an aarti on Wednesday morning. It was meant to be a low-profile visit and hence we kept it a secret and made the necessary arrangements," Narendra Rane, chairman of the Siddhivinayak Trust, told ET.
Cook had lunch with top executives at Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani's residence, Antilia, where he was joined by another son Akash Ambani, aide Manoj Modi, Reliance Jio Managing Director Sanjay Mashruwala and Pankaj Pawar, who overseas Reliance Retail.
Cook's meetings and movements through the day were kept under wraps with the media not allowed anywhere near the boss of the iconic smartphone maker, which is hoping to revive slowing sales of its iPhones with a greater presence in India, the world's fastest growing and third largest market after China and the US.
India is soon expected to surpass the US as the second largest smartphone market, and the launch of 4G services and the demand for 4G phones is what Apple expects to tap into to revitalise itself in a slowing global market.
On Thursday morning, Cook is headed to Hyderabad where he will meet Telengana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao and its Information Technology Minister KT Rama Rao, besides visiting the location of the company's upcoming technology development centre, which should be ready by early 2017.
The CEO then proceeds to Delhi for the final leg of his trip, where he will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Many of the meetings on Wednesday were with business partners, starting with Vodafone India CEO Sunil Sood at breakfast.
"The discussions were mainly related to the partnerships both companies already have," a person aware of the discussions said. "Mr Sood went into the meeting armed with data on the work the company has done with Apple, largely on the iPhone 6 and 6s around which Vodafone had advertising campaigns running and even some financing structures for sales."
Tata Group's Mistry then stepped out of a full-day Indian Hotels board meeting to meet Cook. The meeting, which took place at Taj Chambers, lasted for a little under an hour. "The discussion was on the Indian market and technology developments, mainly on cars," said a person aware of what the two talked about.
Later in the day, there was a meeting between Cook and Tata Consultancy Services CEO N Chandrasekaran, which lasted more than an hour. "Chandra, who is a big fan of Apple's devices, felt it was a very good meeting," said another person. TCS is an IT service provider for Apple.
During the day, Cook visited ICICI Bank headquarters and met the top management including Kochhar and executive directors NS Kannan, Vishakha Mulye, Vijay Chandok and Rajiv Sabharwal. The visit lasted about an hour but the bank did not disclose what was discussed.
On the day Apple announced plans to set up a "design and development"startup accelerator in Bengaluru, Cook also met executives from startups Numerics, Avaz, Sweetcouch and Urban Clap.
Cook said in a statement that the new accelerator facility would help iOS developers create innovative apps for the company's customers globally and that the new facility would provide resources to support entrepreneurs.
After the meeting with the four startups, Cook tweeted: "Great to hear from some of India's top iOS developers today. Innovative apps and many ideas for the future!"
Ahead of the SRK dinner, Cook visited Mehboob Studio in Bandra West, where reportedly he would be part of a seminar being moderated by filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt. At dinner, SRK is supposed to play host to a glittering guest list that includes Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Hrithik Roshan, Arjun Rampal, Parineeti Chopra, Farah Khan, Imtiaz Ali, R Balki and Alia Bhatt among others. Cook is reportedly an SRK fan and dinner will be catered by celebrity chef Vicky Ratnani.