Ap­ple sets up China R&D cen­ter

China Daily (USA) - - ACROSS AMERICA - By Ma Si in Bei­jing masi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Ap­ple Inc has set up its first Chi­nese re­search and de­vel­op­ment cen­ter in Wangjing area of Bei­jing, with registered cap­i­tal of 100 mil­lion yuan ($14.99 mil­lion), as the US tech giant wres­tles with tum­bling smart­phone sales and mount­ing com­pe­ti­tion from lo­cal rivals.

The R&D unit will have about 500 em­ploy­ees and its to­tal in­vest­ment will even­tu­ally reach 300 mil­lion yuan, ac­cord­ing to the of­fi­cial WeChat ac­count of the ad­min­is­tra­tive com­mit­tee of Zhong­guan­cun Science Park.

Ap­ple de­clined to com­ment on the story. The news came shortly af­ter Tim Cook vis­ited Bei­jing in Au­gust, promisi n g to open its first in­de­pen­dently op­er­ated R&D cen­ter in China by the year end. The unit will fo­cus on de­vel­op­ing com­put­ers, soft­wares, au­dio and video de­vices as well as other con­sumer elec­tron­ics, for Ap­ple’s cus­tomers in China and around the world.

Zhong­guan­cun Science Park, lo­cated in Bei­jing, is ar­guably the most in­ten­sive sci­en­tific, ed­u­ca­tion and tal­ent re­source base in China. It boasts al­most 40 pre­mier uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges such as Pek­ing Uni­ver­sity and Ts­inghua Uni­ver­sity, as well as more than 200 sci­en­tific in­sti­tu­tions.

Ni­cole Peng, re­search direc­tor at Shang­hai-based con­sul­tancy Canalys, said the move marked a sig­nif­i­cant change in Ap­ple’s per­cep­tion of the China mar­ket.

“China is no longer just a big buyer of its con­sumer elec­tron­ics prod­ucts. As the coun­try makes big strides in the in­ter­net and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy, it be­comes an im­por­tant part of Ap­ple’s global re­search and de­vel­op­ment ef­forts,” Peng said.

Also, China has be­come a trend­set­ter in many as­pects and the anal­y­sis of Chi­nese con­sumers’ pref­er­ences and us­age habits can now re­flect a broader trend among Asian buy­ers, she added.

In May, Ap­ple pumped $1 bil­lion into Didi Chux­ing, China’s largest ride-hail­ing plat­form.

Dur­ing his lat­est vis­its to Bei­jing, Tim Cook also held ex­ten­sive meet­ings with app de­vel­op­ers, high­light­ing the firm’s recog­ni­tion of China’s re­search ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

Jin Di, re­search man­ager at In­ter­na­tional Data Corp China, said the R&D cen­ter is a well­cal­cu­lated step to im­prove the lo­cal­iza­tion of its prod­ucts as lo­cal brands Huawei Tech­nolo­gies Co Ltd and Oppo catch up quickly.

“Chi­nese con­sumers are highly frag­mented. A lo­cal R&D team can help Ap­ple bet­ter un­der­stand lo­cal play­ers’ prod­uct and mar­ket­ing strate­gies and keep track of what is go­ing on in the rapidly chang­ing mar­ket.”

Ap­ple launched its lat­est iPhone ear­lier this month, but IDC forecast that the iPhone 7 will not be a huge hit in China given that it has few fea­tures which can res­onate with lo­cal con­sumers.

In the quar­ter ended in June, Ap­ple saw a 33 per­cent drop in sales in China, mark­ing its high­est de­cline in all re­gions, while do­mes­tic brands Huawei and Oppo saw surges in ship­ments of 15 per­cent and 124 per­cent, re­spec­tively.

Tim Cook, CEO of Ap­ple Inc

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from China

© PressReader. All rights reserved.