Zamen | زامن
Apple is opening an R&D center in the home of China's tech boom
Shenzen was previously best known for its knockoff iPhones and iPads, but the Chinese manufacturing hub is now a force of innovation in its own right. The latest proof? Apple is opening a new research and development center in the city, the company's second in China following a $45 million hub being built in Beijing
Apple CEO Tim Cook even made a surprise visit to Shenzen on Tuesday to celebrate the news. According to comments reported by local paper Economic Daily and translated by Quartz, Cook praised Shenzen as a manufacturing powerhouse. "We realized the skill level of Shenzhen's factories was gradually leading other places in the world," said Cook of his early visits to the city.
According to statement from Apple spokesperson Josh Rosenstock, the Shenzen base will allow the company's engineers to work "even more closely and collaboratively" with manufacturing partners. "The Shenzhen center, along with the Beijing center, is also aimed at strengthening relationships with local partners and universities as we work to support talent development across the country," said Rosenstock in comments reported by Reuters
Apple's desire to further integrate its business with Chinese companies comes as iPhone sales slowed in the country. Apple's revenue from the Greater China region (which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong) fell 33 percent in the last quarter compared to 2015, the worst decline of any of Apple's major operating markets. This slowdown is due to decreased interest in the iPhone, with local companies like Huawei and ZTE continuing to challenge Apple's flagship product.
Luckily, both Huawei and ZTE are headquartered in Shenzen, along with Chinese internet giant Tencent and dronemaker DJI. That means Apple won't have to look too far to find its competition, or, no doubt, local talent to recruit.