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Apple’s Tim Cook promises APAC research and development center this year


By Charlotte McEleny, Asia Editor

August 17, 2016 | 3 min read

Apple CEO Tim Cook has committed to a R&D center in APAC during a visit to China, a market where it’s struggling to gain traction.

Apple Watch, IDC

Apple to invest in China R&D center

The promise was made during a visit to senior Chinese official Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, according to Reuters. He told him that a R&D center would be built by the end of the year.

According to the report, the center will bring together Apple's engineering and operations teams in China and the company will use it to build on relationships with partners and universities.

Apple has been struggling to get the sales it wants in China and it’s likely that it believes a local R&D center will help it create more relevant products for customers, as well as build trust in a government that is cautious of foreign business and technology.

Tim Cook has said previously that its investment into Chinese taxi app startup Didi was so that it could learn more about the Chinese market.

In Apple’s latest financials, it posted another disappointing quarter in China. Revenue in China dropped 33 per cent in Q3 2016, helping to drive a 14.6 per cent drop in revenues globally.

It follows in the footsteps of Google, which announced that it would be investing more heavily in development talent in APAC, opening its first engineering hub in Singapore this year.

Google also admitted that it hadn’t been optimising for its ‘next billion’ customers which would most likely come from growing markets in APAC such as Indonesia, India and China.

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