In the latest Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) news, 9 to 5 Mac is reporting that the firm is getting ready to open a branch of its famous flagship Apple University in China. The iPhone titan is seeking to further improve its business position in China for by expanding its Cupertino-based Apple University program to the country, according to knowledgeable sources. The sources also note Apple Vice President and Dean of Apple University Joel Podolny is already interviewing candidates for a new Dean of Apple University in China position.

New Apple University Coming To China Soon

Podolny had been the head of Apple’s Worldwide Human Resources division, and reports directly to CEO Cook. It is expected that the new Dean of Apple University China will report directly to Podolny. The company announced earlier this year that Podolny was transferring Human Resources responsibilities to Denise Young-Smith so he could stay focused on growing Apple U. Apple U has also hired a number of academics from other firms and notable business university programs to work with Podolny with in developing curricula.

More on Apple University

Apple University was founded back in 2008, and has become an extensive and rapidly growing program within Apple designed to train mid-level employees and managers on the reasons behind the decisions made by Steve Jobs and other execs in creating the firm’s success. Jobs himself developed the program with former Yale School of Business Dean Podolny in order to keep maintain Apple culture beyond the lifetimes of the executives critical to Apple’s early success.

Apple University in China is a big step

Expanding Apple University to China is a major step in Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s history and its relationship with China. This is the first time Apple has fully expanded the exclusive program to another region, making clear its desire to expand the firm’s presence in China beyond just sales and operations.

Apple has previously offered a few Apple University courses in other areas and has flown in professors to teach them. Given the number of Apple suppliers based in China, it seems likely that a significant number of the Apple U classes in China will be focused on the topics of product engineering and manufacturing.

9 to 5 Mac’s sources say that Apple CEO Tim Cook confirmed the plans to a group of employees during a recent meeting with China retail operations. Cook said the reason for an Apple University in China is to teach Chinese  Apple employees and managers about the corporation’s “heritage and culture.” He added that Apple is a “look forward organization, not a look back one,” and that the company “cannot afford a weak link” between its U.S. and Chinese divisions.