Ap­ple plans to open 2 more re­search cen­tres, boost in­vest­ment in China

New Straits Times - - Business -

BEI­JING: Ap­ple Inc has re­vealed plans to set up two more re­search cen­tres and boost in­vest­ment in China, a piv­otal mar­ket in which the iPhone has been rapidly el­bowed aside by lo­cal ri­vals.

The an­nounce­ment comes as chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Tim Cook un­der­takes his lat­est trip to a coun­try that ranks as Ap­ple’s sin­gle big­gest over­seas mar­ket.

Ap­ple said it plans to build new re­search fa­cil­i­ties in the eastern Chi­nese cities of Shanghai and Suzhou, on top of cen­tres al­ready slated for Bei­jing and the south­ern city of Shen­zhen.

It also pledged to spend at least 3.5 bil­lion yuan (RM2.24 bil­lion) on re­search in­sti­tu­tions.

All four cen­tres will open later this year, the com­pany said in a state­ment on its Chi­nese web­site. They will help Ap­ple co­op­er­ate with lo­cal part­ners and at­tract tal­ent from its lo­cal sup­pli­ers as well as from top ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tutes, ac­cord­ing to its press re­lease.

The an­nounce­ment came a day be­fore Cook is sched­uled to ad­dress a high-pro­file eco­nomic fo­rum here, where se­nior govern­ment of­fi­cials will con­fer with the heads of some of the world’s big­gest cor­po­ra­tions, in­clud­ing Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Saudi Ara­bian Oil Co.

For­eign com­pa­nies have a longestab­lished tra­di­tion of build­ing re­search bases in China to both sig­nal their com­mit­ment to the coun­try and curry favour with the govern­ment.

Ap­ple’s an­nounce­ment comes after iPhone ship­ments fell for the first time in China on an an­nual ba­sis, last year1.

China had for years driven Ap­ple’s spec­tac­u­lar growth, even as smart­phone de­mand else­where fal­tered. But lo­cal ven­dors like Huawei Tech­nolo­gies Co, Oppo and Vivo are now erod­ing its mar­ket share with in­creas­ingly high­end de­vices.

The US com­pany is count­ing on the re­lease of the 10th an­niver­sary iPhone later this year to su­per­charge growth. Bloomberg

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