Apple has set up its first research and development center in China, located in “China’s Silicon Valley”, Zhongguancun Science Park, in northwestern Beijing.
Zhongguancun Science Park published a report on Tuesday, confirming the Apple R&D center’s location in Zhongguancun. The center has around 500 staff, with a registered capital of RMB 100 million (USD 14 million) and a total investment of RMB 300 million (USD 44 million).
The center is the first R&D center among Apple’s direct investments in China. It will focus on the R&D of computer hardware and software, communication, audio and video devices, consumer electric products, and information technologies, according to the report.
Apple CEO Tim Cook had promised during his visit to China in August that Apple would set up the company’s first R&D center in China before the end of 2016.
Apple was cautious about setting up R&D centers outside America. Thus far, much of the R&D work has been done in the company’s headquarters in California. Taiwanese electronics maker Foxconn has been the major manufacturer of Apple’s iPhone smartphones in China.
But there has been a change in Apple’s overseas strategy in recent years. It has set up R&D centers in Japan, Israel and Britain, and is planning to open more in India, Canada, Indonesia and Vietnam, to better take advantage of the local resources, according to news website Sohu.com.
The report claimed that Apple’s new move will benefit the Chinese economy: the center will create more jobs for local engineers; it will also stimulate competition between Apple and local companies, and eventually benefit Chinese consumers.
Apple’s smartphone shipments slump in China may be another important factor behind the company’s decision.
The company shipped 8.6 million smartphones in the China market in Q2 2016, a 31.7% YoY decline, ranking in fifth place after local makers Huawei, OPPO, vivo and Xiaomi, according to market research firm IDC.
(top image taken from Baidu Images)