Apple Opts to Open Another Chinese Research Lab

October 14
6:00 AM 2016

Apple manages to open another research lab. This time it is in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.  Its chief executive Tim Cook confirmed on Wednesday.

As it seeks to boost sales and improve its relationship with domestic authorities, news of the centre, which will be Apple's second in China after a new facility in Beijing, comes as the government is pressing foreign technology groups to carry out more high-end work on the mainland, to boost the local industry.

 For Apple, a closer relationship with the Chinese authorities has been a priority following a number of setbacks this year. These have ranged from a copyright infringement lawsuit in which a Chinese company alleged it owned the iPhone trademark, to a block on Apple's iTunes video service, which since appears to have been relaxed, allowing iTunes to work intermittently. 

Reports revealed that Apple's iPhone has been losing market shareto handsets made by local rivals such as Huawei, Vivo and Oppo. In the second quarter, Oppo topped the market share rankings, while Apple languished in fifth place, according to Canalys data. 

Ge Jia, an influential technology blogger, said it marked a shift in Apple's approach in China as it faces rising nationalism and high-quality local competition.

"It's time for Apple to cast aside their pride," the blogger wrote on Wednesday. "Their previous strategy of only selling devices to China without leaving anything behind is not working any more and they are starting their process of localisation in China through this."

Mr Cook announced plans for the lab in talks with senior city officials, the Shenzhen Economic Daily reported. Mr Cook, who was attending an innovation event in Shenzhen, unveiled plans for the Beijing facility in August, during another visit, and promised to invest more in China.

Fu Liang, an independent telecom analyst, said the research centre would also help Apple zero in on consumer preferences that might make it more attuned to the local market. 

"The Shenzhen centre, along with the Beijing centre, is also aimed at strengthening relationships with local partners and universities as we work to support talent development across the country." Apple said in a statement.

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