Photo of Beijing Apple Store:

Apple appears to be preparing for increased focus on the Chinese market, with more than 200 (mostly) senior job openings appearing on LinkedIn, reports the WSJ. Some of these were added in the past three weeks, many within the last few days. Digitimes reported yesterday on Apple also seeking senior engineers in Taiwan.

With the developed market close to saturation point, the BRIC markets – Brazil, Russia, India and China – are key to Apple’s future expansion. Worldwide, smartphones represent only just over half of the total cellphone market, generating massive potential for future growth.

Apple’s challenge in China is as much a political one as it is marketing-based … 

While Apple is a key customer for a number of Chinese manufacturers, notably Foxconn and Pegatron, the Chinese government takes a robust line in trying to defend local brands from foreign competition.

Earlier this year, Apple came under attack from State-run Chinese media over warranty policies said to discriminate against Chinese customers. Although there appeared to be little substance to the allegations, the importance of the market was such that Tim Cook took the unusual step of issuing a public apology.

There have been high-profile stories about alleged dangerous faults with Apple kit (though these likely involve counterfeit products), and more recently Apple has come under fire for working conditions and pollution claims regarding its key suppliers.

No surprise, then, that the positions advertised include a number of Supplier Responsibility roles and an Environmental Affairs Program Manager.

Apple recently dropped to 7th place in China, with the country believed to be a key target for the iPhone 5C, aka the plastic iPhone, expected to be unveiled alongside the 5S at Apple’s launch event on 10th September. Tim Cook recently met both China Telecom and China Mobile for likely negotiations on iPhone sales.


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