Ap­ple will open 2nd R&D cen­ter in eastern China

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By MA SI in Shen­zhen masi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Ap­ple Inc will set up its sec­ond China research and de­vel­op­ment cen­ter in Shen­zhen next year, to strengthen ties with lo­cal man­u­fac­tur­ing part­ners, as the US tech gi­ant strug­gles with mount­ing com­pe­ti­tion and de­clin­ing smart­phone sales.

The plan came shortly af­ter it es­tab­lished a R&D cen­ter in Bei­jing, high­light­ing the im­por­tance of the China mar­ket, the world’s largest smart­phone arena where Ap­ple is los­ing ground to lo­cal brands such as Huawei and Oppo.

Ap­ple CEO Tim Cook un­veiled the plan for the new cen­ter on Tues­day dur­ing his visit to Shen­zhen, the south­ern Chi­nese man­u­fac­tur­ing pow­er­house and in­no­va­tion hub.

The Shen­zhen cen­ter will help “our engi­neer­ing team work even more closely and col­lab­o­ra­tively with our man­u­fac­tur­ing part­ner”, Ap­ple said in an emailed state­ment to China Daily.

“Shen­zhen is an in­cred­i­bly vi­brant city where we are proud to sup­port over 200,000 jobs be­tween ad­vanced man­u­fac­tur­ing and the grow­ing (mo­bile) app econ­omy,” the firm added.

The Cal­i­for­nia-head­quar­tered firm did not dis­close the scale of its in­vest­ment in the new ven­ture.

Ap­ple had set up its first China research and de­vel­op­ment cen­ter in Wangjing area of Bei­jing, with to­tal in­vest­ment to reach 300 mil­lion yuan ($44.6 mil­lion).

Jin Di, research man­ager at In­ter­na­tional Data Corp China, said un­like the Bei­jing cen­ter which fo­cuses on part­ner­ship with uni­ver­si­ties, the Shen­zhen unit will help Ap­ple op­ti­mize its sup­ply chain man­age­ment.

“Shen­zhen is home to Ap­ple’s ma­jor man­u­fac­tur­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion part­ners.

The new cen­ter can help it bet­ter lo­cal­ize prod­ucts, es­pe­cially when the in­dus­try is of­ten suf­fer­ing from short­age of com­po­nents.”

Ac­cord­ing to Jin, the two R&D cen­ters are likely to play an ac­tive role in de­sign­ing Ap­ple’s fu­ture iPhones and other hard­ware.

Dur­ing his re­cent trips to China, Cook has held ex­ten­sive meet­ings with app de­vel­op­ers, high­light­ing the firm’s recog­ni­tion of China’s research ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

China, once Ap­ple’s fastest­grow­ing mar­ket, has re­cently be­come a source of dis­ap­point­ment. In the sec­ond quar­ter, Ap­ple saw a 33 per­cent drop in sales in China, its great­est de­cline in all re­gions.

To lure consumers away from ri­vals, Ap­ple has filed ap­pli­ca­tions to patent its dual-SIM card tech­nolo­gies in China, which en­able one phone to sup­port two car­ri­ers at the same time, a fea­ture quite pop­u­lar among consumers.

Ni­cole Peng, research di­rec­tor at Shang­hai-based con­sul­tancy Canalys, said: “As China makes big strides in the in­ter­net and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, the coun­try has be­come a trend­set­ter in many as­pects.”

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