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Apple is planning on setting up two new research & development centers in China, as well as spending $507 million on overall research initiatives in the country, the company announced on Friday.
The two new research facilities will be located in Shanghai and Suzhou, and the research investment totals 3.5 billion yuan in local currency. Both initiatives will seek to support Apple’s growing engineering and operations teams in China, which will focus its energies on working with local technology partners, the company wrote in a press release on its Chinese website.
The two new research & development centers will join an additional two facilities are planned in Beijing and Shenzhen, Apple said. To foster and develop technical expertise within the country, Cupertino will pull from the supply chain, as well as graduates from a variety of Chinese higher education institutions, including Peking University, Tsinghua University and Shanghai Jiaotong University. The tech giant is also partnering with local schools and education centers to provide internship programs.
“We are looking forward to working with more local partners and academic institutions through the expansion of R&D centers in China,” said Dan Riccio, senior vice president of Hardware Engineering. “We are honored to have excellent talent and positive entrepreneurial spirit in China,” adding that Apple’s developers and suppliers in the area will help the company flourish in the market.
Apple’s announcements come just one day before CEO Tim Cook is expected to speak at an economic forum in Beijing, where Chinese government officials will meet with some of the heads of the world’s biggest corporations, Bloomberg reported. Similarly, on Thursday, an Apple-backed tech think tank, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, called on a group of countries to pressure China into providing business terms more favorable to foreign enterprises, according to Reuters.
In recent years, Cupertino has been struggling to maintain a foothold in China — the world’s largest smartphone market and a country of strategic importance to the company’s standing as a dominant force in the industry. The iPhone, Apple’s flagship device, has seen its popularity decline in the region, due in no small part to native smartphone companies who offer devices at lower price points.