Apple kicks off China app accelerator with ARKit workshop

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Apple China
Apple kicked off the Accelerator program with a workshop focused on augmented reality.
Photo: Apple

Apple has opened a new Design and Development Accelerator in China to promote app development in the country.

Located in Shanghai, the accelerator features a range of lectures, workshops, networking events and more covering all of Apple’s different platforms.

“Developers here in China are leading the world with some of the most popular apps on the App Store, and we are proud to be providing this additional support for them,” said Enwei Xie, Apple’s head of developer relations for Greater China, said in a statement. “From education to health to entertainment, the innovation we see here is incredible and we can’t wait to see what these talented developers will come up with next.”

The new app accelerator kicked off with a workshop focused on augmented reality. The workshop covered updates for ARKit 3, AR Quick Look, Reality Composer and RealityKit. The goal was to drive more Chinese developers to use ARKit.

Apple’s future biggest market

Tim Cook has previously talked about China being Apple’s future biggest market. Greater China is home to over 2.5 million developers on Apple platforms. Since the App Store in China launched in 2010, local developers have earned over 200 billion RMB ($29 billion). 30% of these earnings came in the past year.

However, Apple also faces challenges in the country. One is declining sales of the iPhone. Another big one is the rise of WeChat, which is an app that is actually more like a mobile OS. WeChat poses a challenge for Apple because it essentially means that the user experience on a pricey iPhone is almost identical to a cheaper Android device.

This isn’t the first time that Apple has opened an app accelerator in a market it desperately wants to grow. In March 2017, Apple opened a similar center in Bengaluru, India. It was an attempt to grow Apple’s presence in one of the most populous countries by promoting local app development.

Now that Apple has app accelerators in both China and India, it is doing its bit to grow its platforms in the world’s two most heavily populated countries.