Apple Inc. Plans R&D Center To Boost China Investments

On his second official trip to China, Apple CEO Tim Cook held an official meeting with government officials to discuss future investment opportunities. Citing state broadcaster CCTV, The Wall Street Journal noted that in the meeting with China’s vice premier Zhang Gaoli, Cook pledged to open Apple’s first research and development center in the country later this year.

Apple’s first Asia-Pacific R&D center in China

On Tuesday, Cook said Apple will boost its venture in China, its biggest yet progressively more difficult market, with its first Asia-Pacific research and development center. In a statement, Apple said the R&D center will work with its engineering and operations teams in China and help develop ties with colleges and partners.

As of now, the details of the research and development center are not very clear, like where it will be, how enormous will it be or what could be the overall cost of it. Whatever the details may be, this move represents a further exertion of Apple’s efforts to get on Beijing’s good side. Earlier this year, the U.S. firm declared a $1 billion investment in the ride-hailing application Didi Chuxing. According to Cook, the investment was made “for a number of strategic reasons, including a chance to learn more about certain segments of the China market.”

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Apple’s declaration came after the head of China’s industry and technology controller told Cook in May that he hopes Apple will extend its collaboration with the nation in research and development.

China remains a challenging market for Apple

Cook’s promise comes at a time when demand for iPhones is dropping in the world’s second-largest economy, and authorities there remain suspicious about foreign technology. Despite being an essential source of development in recent years, the Chinese market has proven challenging for Apple. Recently, authorities there closed iTunes movies and the iBookstore, which was reportedly responsible for Cook’s first visit to China this year.

During the most recent earnings call, Cook said, “We remain very optimistic about the long-term opportunities in Greater China and we continue to invest there.”

Apple also announced that Lens Technology, a major Chinese touchscreen glass supplier, will be handling its Apple-focused operations using renewable energy.

“We’re pleased to be the first supplier to commit to covering all of our Apple production with renewable energy, and proud to source from local Hunan wind farms to power our facilities in Changsha,” said Lens CEO Zhou Qunfei.