Apple, Apple Music, iOS

Continuing with its plan to aggresively expand into world’s second largest economy China, Apple has today announced plans to open a research and development center in Shenzen. CEO Tim Cook is looking to spur growth and attract developer talent for the R&D center from Shenzen, also called the tech manufacturing mecca of the country.

Last night, Tim Cook met with Shenzhen Communist Party secretary Ma Xingrui and other senior government officials to formally discuss plans for expansion and announce the new center, reports local publication SZNews. The meeting was also graced with the presence of Terry Gou, the chairman of Apple’s primary hardware manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group.

At the meeting, Tim Cook took the opportunity to commend Shenzen’s manufacturing prowess and said that there’s a lot of entrepreneurial spirit of innovation and excellence among the youth. He also reminisced on his previous visit to the manufacturing hub, and talked about the importance of the hub for Apple.

When I visited China for the first time more than 20 years ago, Shenzhen was my first destination. Terry Gou accompanied me. At the time, it was a place to look for large-scale manufacturers in China.

Apple has always valued innovative products, so our manufacturing must be very advanced. We realized the skill level of Shenzhen’s factories was gradually leading other places in the world.

As we released more products, especially the iPhone, Apple’s sales increased dramatically, as did our number of employees. Today, when it comes to manufacturing, Shenzhen is still a very important city for us—we now employ over 100,000 workers.

Along the same lines, secretary Ma Xingrui emphasised the importance of Apple bringing more business to the country. He added that Shenzen will be focused on providing innovation opportunities, higher degree of market advantages, quality and efficient services while also promoting bilateral cooperation for more fruitful results in the future.

Though details about the new Shenzen research and development center are still bleak, but it is expected to follow along the lines of the previously announced center in Beijing. Just months ago CEO Tim Cook visited China and promised that Apple would invest around $45 million to setup its first-ever research facility in Beijing. This facility is expected to employ close to 500 people.

The Shenzhen center, along with the Beijing center, is also aimed at strengthening relationships with local partners and universities as we work to support talent development across the country,

said an Apple spokesperson.

This announcement also comes at the heels of the rapid decline in sales of Apple’s flagship device, the iPhone. You could call it another step in what we call the ‘Please the Dragon’ campaign being carried out by the Cupertino giant. The company had recently also invested a whopping $1 billion in ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing to not only show its support for the company against Uber, but also with the intentions of better understanding the local Chinese market.

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