Apple CEO Tim Cook made a surprise visit today to the Chinese city of Shenzhen, and used the occasion to announce yet another R&D facility in China. The first announcement came during the end of September:
Apple is obviously upping its charm quotient on China. This special visit shows just how important to iPhone’s flagging sales over the past six months, but Mr. Cook has already made several visits to China this year. The company earlier this year made a $1 billion investment in Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing, which recently ousted Uber from the country after buying the company’s China assets and merging it with its own network.
Apple definitely has a vested interest in China because it currently supports over 200,000 workers in the country, whose jobs cover a range of advanced manufacturing and app development tasks.
Of note is the fact that Apple is one of very few American companies that have garnered a warm welcome from the People’s Republic of China. The Chinese market is not very accepting of foreign companies, and even large organizations like Amazon, Wal-Mart and others have failed to make a dent in this market.
But for Apple the story is very different. They already have a strong presence in China, but sales have been slipping in the past several months. That phenomenon wasn’t unique to Apple, however, as most smartphone makers saw a dip in sales this year. But Apple apparently wants to do something about it.
As part of his visit, Mr. Cook will be attending a forum on entrepreneurship in Shenzhen today where he is expected to meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
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