Apple’s odd relationship with China may soon be at an end after the company revealed plans to open a research and development facility in Shenzhen, the tech manufacturing capital of the world.
Having only recently announced plans to build a $45m R&D hub in Beijing, which itself was a departure from Apple’s recent global operations, Tim Cook’s company has now settled on Shenzhen as a second location.
Seeking a growth spurt in China, the world’s largest market, and one which as yet shows no signs of embracing Apple products, Cook hopes a presence in the country will help market the iPhone.
In recent years, Samsung and Xiaomi ate into Apple’s market there; with Huawei, Oppo and Vivo recently rendering Apple as a fairly insignificant player in the Chinese smartphone space.
According to Reuters, Cook announced the plan during a meeting with senior officials from the southern Chinese city, where he is attending a nationwide innovation event.
Apple’s performance in emerging markets has been very poor. A few months ago, figures from India, the third-largest market in the world, showed Apple representing just 2.4pc of smartphone market share.
In China earlier this year, an annual drop of 16.3pc in smartphone sales saw Apple’s share drop to 15.3pc, with the likes of Huawei, Oppo and Vivo gaining ground with their lower-end models.
“We are excited to be opening a new R&D centre here next year so our engineering team can work even more closely and collaboratively with our manufacturing partners,” said a spokesperson.
According to local reports, the Beijing R&D hub will be located in Haidian District, at the Zhongguancun Science & Technology Zone.
This zone is also home to the Chinese R&D centres for tech giants like AMD, Google, Intel, Lenovo, Oracle and Sony.
“The Shenzhen centre, along with the Beijing centre, is also aimed at strengthening relationships with local partners and universities as we work to support talent development across the country,” said the spokesperson.
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