Apple has announced plans to build two research and development (R&D) centres in China, as the company attempts to turn the tide and bolster its recent stuttering performances in the region.
The two new centres will be located in Shanghai, the country’s biggest city with a population of just over 24 million and Suzhou, located approximately 100 km northwest of Shanghai and home to around to 10 million residents.
Apple already has two other Chinese-based R&D centres in Beijing and Shenzhen, both of which were announced last year, with all four expected to officially open later in 2017.
In a statement on its Chinese website, Apple said that it is committed to investing 3.5 billion yuan (£410 million) in R&D in China and will focus on working with “local technology partners” to develop technology and services.
“We are looking forward to working with more local partners and academic institutions through the expansion of R&D centres in China,” said Dan Riccio, senior vice president of hardware engineering at Apple.
“We are honoured to have excellent talent and positive entrepreneurial spirit in China and the developers and suppliers here will work together to make our business in this market flourish.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook visited China last year to meet with “high-level government officials” amidst concerns about the company’s prospects in the country, which is notorious for making life difficult for Western technology companies.
Despite being the world’s largest smartphone market, Apple sales fell by more than a quarter in China last year, with the tech giant also confirming that its online book and film services had been shut down in the country just six months after their launch.
China is famously known for its ‘Great Chinese Firewall,’ a phrase coined because of the country’s strict online surveillance regulations which were added to in November with the adoption of a controversial cyber security law that gives the government even more control over the internet.
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