Apple will begin investing more in China and plans on building its first Asia-Pacific research and development centre in the country, CEO Tim Cook said on Tuesday.
Cook made the pledge during his second official trip to China of the year.
According to Xinhua, the country’s official news agency, Cook told Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli that the R&D centre will be built by the end of the year.
The announcement comes after Apple reported that sales in the region dropped by a third last quarter amid growing competition from local smartphone makers – revenue in China more than doubled in the previous year.
It remains unclear just how big the R&D centre will be or where in China it will be built.
Earlier this year the head of China’s industry and technology regulator told Cook he hoped Apple could strengthen its cooperation with the country in research and development.
“We look forward to expanding our operations in China with a new research and development centre as we continue to grow our talented team here,” Apple said, according to The Financial Times.
“The centre will open later this year, bringing together our engineering and operations teams in China as we develop advanced technologies and services for our products, both for our customers in China and around the world.”
“The new centre is also aimed at strengthening relationships with local partners and universities as we work to support talent development across the country,” Apple added.
In May, the company announced a $1 billion investment in the Chinese ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing, which Tim Cook said was made “for a number of strategic reasons, including a chance to learn more about certain segments of the China market.”