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Eyes on the prize: Tim Cook visits China again, announces research centre

It's the second visit the Apple CEO has made to China in three months and comes as iPhone sales dipped significantly in the country.


Apple has been losing momentum in China as of late, but CEO Tim Cook hopes to turn that all around.

Cook is currently in Beijing, his second visit to the city in three months, meeting Tuesday with China's Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, reports the state-run Xinhua.

At the meeting, Gaoli invited US companies like Apple to boost investments into the country, saying that doing so strengthens the global economy, according to the publication.

Those words from a Chinese official would be music to Cook's ears. The country's government has a reputation for being tough on foreign companies, something Apple knows something about. The government in April shut down Apple's iTunes Movies and iBooks services, and the company has since been given grief by various local courts over different trademark cases.

Cook also said at the meeting that Apple would be opening a research centre in China.

"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," Apple said in a statement.

"The new centre is also aimed at strengthening relationships with local partners and universities as we work to support talent development across the country."

It comes as iPhone sales have dipped in China, where Apple is usually a top-three player. Sales in the Greater China region fell 33 percent last quarter compared with the same period in 2015 -- Apple's worst regional drop among all of its markets.

China, which for some time has been the company's second largest market after the US, is now its third largest market, with Europe taking second place.