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Google set to hire former Apple executive as India policy head

Alphabet Inc.’s Google is set to appoint a manufacturing and policy veteran as its top government affairs executive in India to tackle legal challenges and expand hardware assembly to the country.

Sreenivasa Reddy, currently a senior engineering executive at Microsoft Corp., is likely to join Google toward the end of this year, people familiar with the matter said, asking not to be identified as the matter is private. He previously worked in senior positions at Apple Inc.’s India regulatory team and headed government relations at the local unit of Swedish telecom-gear maker Ericsson AB, helping to drive domestic manufacturing at both companies.

Reddy’s experience will come in handy at Google, which is scouting for partners in India to assemble its Pixel range of smartphones as it seeks to diversify beyond China. Pixel’s production in India could lead to the local manufacturing of other Google hardware products, such as speakers.

The executive will also help Google navigate regulatory challenges. The Mountain View, California-based company is fighting antitrust charges in India, with authorities accusing it of abusing its dominant position in mobile operating systems.

Reddy and representatives for Google in India didn’t respond to requests for comment. Google’s previous India policy head, Archana Gulati, left the company last year.

Google is among global technology firms viewing India as a key growth market. The company is adding more local languages to its services and seeking ways to make its Android smartphones cheaper, eager to win more users in the world’s most populous country.

The company plans to open a global financial-technology center in Gujarat International Finance Tech-City — more commonly known as GIFT City — in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state, Alphabet Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai said during the Indian premier’s visit to the US last month. Bloomberg

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