Tim Prepare dinner and Apple tech executives meet Indian Prime Minister Modi

U.S. President Joe Biden looks on as India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks at a meeting with senior officials and CEOs of American and Indian companies in the East Room of the White House June 23, 2023 in Washington, DC.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

The CEOs of Apple, alphabet, Microsoft had a good dose of facetime with the leader of India this week, who was in the US to meet with President Biden as well as other political and business leaders.

The tech company’s executives spent over an hour with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House on Friday, discussing opportunities and challenges in investing in India. Earlier in the week, Modi met with Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

After the White House meeting concluded, Apple CEO Tim Cook told CNBC that India presented a “huge opportunity.” When asked if Apple would continue to expand there, he pointed to the two retail stores the company opened in India earlier this year.

It was the first state visit to the United States for Modi, who became prime minister in 2014. After Friday’s meeting, the White House said Google would work with the Indian Institute of Science on the open sourcing of speech data for artificial intelligence models.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was also at the event in Washington. Two people familiar with the matter said Altman and Modi had discussed opportunities for collaboration on AI.

Hemant Taneja, CEO of venture capital firm General Catalyst, attended the roundtable. Ahead of the meeting, he told CNBC his intentions to find a match in efforts to tighten technology transfer rules between the US and India, which has overtaken China as the world’s most populous country. Relations between the United States and China have become increasingly strained in recent years.

“We are in a digital cold war with China, and this approach will ultimately foster an atmosphere of increased cooperation,” Taneja said.

Big semiconductor companies like micron And Applied Materials Modi’s visit was used as an opportunity to announce plans for significant investments in India. Micron is aiming to open a facility in Modi’s home state of Gujarat as the chip industry in general looks for ways to diversify its supply chain. Lam Research unveiled plans to train 60,000 Indian engineers.

Access to a highly skilled workforce and outdated labor laws pose challenges for American companies recruiting in India.

“US companies in India have struggled over time with regulatory uncertainty as well as challenges in relocating or laying off employees,” said Kenneth Juster, former US Ambassador to India. Juster, now a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said he remains optimistic, adding that India has pledged to ease the process for foreign companies to do business there.

REGARD: CEOs of major tech companies meet with Biden

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