Beijing's Zhongguancun Science Park
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Tim Cook last month told the Chinese government that Apple would be building its first research and development center in China by the end of the year, and local media now appears to have some specifics.

The center will reportedly be located in Beijing’s Zhongguancun Science Park and employ 500 staff.

The R&D center has a registered capital of CNY100 million (US$14.994 million), with total investment likely to reach CNY300 million in the future. The center plans to hire a total of 500 employees, focusing on the development of computer software and hardware products, communication, audio and video devices, as well as advanced technologies for consumer electronics products and the information industry.

The Digitimes report – citing local media – says that the role of the center is expected to go beyond research …

[The center will] be used to integrate Apple’s engineering and business teams for ramping up sales and services, according to media reports in China.

Rumors about the centre actually date back more than three years, but Cook’s statement last month was the first official confirmation.

Apple has R&D centers in a number of countries, including France, IsraelJapan, Sweden and the UK. In addition to tapping local talent, it’s likely that the move is in part a political one, designed to foster closer relationships with China.