Apple Inc. is planning to make Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan its brand ambassador for India to strengthen the company’s market in the South Asian country, according to a report Thursday. The possible development comes after Apple CEO Tim Cook attended Khan’s dinner party along with several other Bollywood bigwigs during his visit to India last month.
The announcement of Khan’s appointment as the brand ambassador will be made when Apple launches latest iPhone models in Indian later this year, sources told PC Tablet, a local website. No further details were available on the matter. If confirmed, 50-year-old Khan will join Americans Serena Williams and Stephen Curry, along with Brazilian soccer star Neymar, as the California-based brand’s ambassador.
During his maiden trip to India, Cook met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and the two discussed Apple’s “future plans for India” and “the possibilities of manufacturing and retailing” in the country.
Apple is seeking a waiver of India’s domestic sourcing rules to open retail stores in the country. However, the company’s application for the waiver — all foreign companies must source 30 percent of their components locally if they want to open single brand retail stores in India — was declined by the Indian Finance Ministry’s Foreign Investment Promotion Board last month. The Finance Ministry also approved the rejection.
However, on Monday, India’s commerce and industry minister said that the government was discussing the application. Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters that her ministry was in talks with the Finance Ministry to review Apple’s rejected application. Sitharaman said the discussion would look into whether a waiver is required for the high-end technology Apple claims to be producing, and also how any given technology could be defined as high-end.