Apple has announced that it will open two more R&D centers in China, one in Shanghai and one in Suzhou, joining the already planned Beijing and Shenzhen centers that have previously been announced, as noted by AppleInsider.
Apple has committed to spending over 3.5 billion yuan (approximately $506.6 million) on research in China, with a focus on working with more local partners in the region to develop new technologies.
As pointed out by Bloomberg, the timing is likely intentional, coming just before Apple CEO Tim Cook is scheduled to speak at an economic forum in Beijing. As Apple’s largest overseas market, success in China is crucial to Apple’s future. Additionally, China is the home of almost all of Apple’s hardware manufacturing, so the investment in nearby Chinese R&D sites certainly makes sense for reducing the gap between research and production.