Apple CEO Tim Cook has made his second official trip to China of the year, meeting with government officials to discuss future investment opportunities. The Wall Street Journal, citing state broadcaster CCTV, notes that Cook met with China's vice premier Zhang Gaoli and pledged to open Apple's first research and development center in the country later this year.
Apple also announced today that major Chinese touchscreen glass supplier Lens Technology has committed to running its Apple-focused operations entirely with renewable energy by the end of 2018. "We're pleased to be the first supplier to commit to covering all of our Apple production with renewable energy, and proud to source from local Hunan wind farms to power our facilities in Changsha," says Lens CEO Zhou Qunfei in a statement.
A further effort by Apple to get in Beijing's good books
It's not clear exactly where, how big, or how expensive the Chinese R&D center will be, but the move represents a further effort by Apple to get in Beijing's good books. Earlier this year the company announced a $1 billion investment in ride-hailing app Didi Chuxing, which Cook said was being made "for a number of strategic reasons, including a chance to learn more about certain segments of the China market."
That market has proven challenging for Apple of late, despite being a primary source of growth over the past couple of years. The iTunes movies and iBookstore were recently shut down by authorities, reportedly prompting Cook's first visit to the country this year, and sales have slowed for the past two quarters. "We remain very optimistic about the long-term opportunities in Greater China and we continue to invest there," Cook said on Apple's most recent earnings call.