Apple Locks In Beijing R&D Center: Reports

Apple Locks In Beijing R&D Center: Reports
Photo Credit: Reuters/達志影像

What you need to know

Despite a ban on some of its products, Apple continues to build its presence in China.

Apple is investing in its first research and design (R&D) company in China with investments totalling about CNY$400 million (US$60 million), according to Chinese media. The R&D center, which will reportedly employ 500 people, is to be located at a technology hub in Zhongguancun, Beijing.

A raft of Chinese-language media reports appeared after the WeChat and Weibo accounts for the Beijing Zhongguancun Technology Park Administration Committee announced the founding of an Apple R&D company at the Zhongguancun Science Park on Sept. 28.

The R&D center will focus on developing computer software, hardware, communication and media equipment, consumer electronics, as well as researching more advanced technology, according to the committee.

Apple has yet to comment on the reports. However, last month Apple chief executive Tim Cook visited Beijing and signaled the company's intention to build a new R&D center as part of a broader plan to expand its footprint in China.

As part of a gradual shift away from its traditional mode of U.S.-based design and research, the tech giant has been increasing its investment in overseas R&D, Taiwan’s CNA reports. It has set up R&D centers in Japan, Israel and the UK, and plans to establish facilities in India, Canada, Indonesia and Vietnam.

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Photo Credit: AP/達志影像
Apple CEO Tim Cook. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

Since 2011, Apple has more than doubled its number of corporate sites in China to 45, Bloomberg reported in August.

Apple has also invested in other sectors of the Chinese market. In May, it invested US$1 billion in the Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing, saying that it would help the company better understand the critical Chinese, Reuters reports.

Taiwanese business news agency Investor.com suggests the new R&D center in China and Didi reflects Apple’s growing focus on service-providing applications. According to statistics from App Annie, China is currently the second largest market for the iOS app store after the U.S., having recently passed Japan.

Still, the company faces regulatory pressure in China. It was forced to shut down its iTunes Movies and iBooks services in April, and has many ongoing legal cases regarding patents and trademarks.

First Editor: Edward White
Second Editor: Olivia Yang