Apple has reportedly set up its first R&D center in China, located in Beijing’s Zhongguancun Science Park, according to a statement issued by the Zhongguancun Park Management Committee.
The plan is for the center to hire a total of 500 employees, who will focus on a wide range of Apple products and devices including, “the development of computer software and hardware products, communication, audio and video devices, as well as advanced technologies for consumer electronics products and the information industry.”
The center will open later this year, and joins other Apple R&D centers in Japan, Israel, and the U.K. Apple also plans to open similar research facilities in Canada, India, Indonesia and Vietnam, all focused on growing Apple’s brand — and drawing on local talent — in these areas.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard about a Chinese R&D center for Apple. In early 2013, there were rumors that Apple would be opening a research and development center in the City of Shanghai. This was based on the fact that Apple had registered its name on three buildings in Pudong, Shanghai, one of which was alleged to be dedicated to procurement management and R&D.
At that time, plans for a Chinese R&D center were allegedly “seven years in the making.”
More recently, Tim Cook told China’s Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, one of the country’s most senior officials, that Apple was planning a new R&D center in China that would be built by the end of this year. Cook used this as evidence that Apple was continuing to increase its focus on China — despite the various challenges it’s faced along the way.