Tuesday 16 August 2016 1:17 pm

Apple is increasing its investment in China

Apple is planning to increase its investment in China and will build its first ever research and development facility in the country, the tech company has revealed.

Boss Tim Cook is visiting the country and commented on the plans during a meeting with China's vice premier Zhang Gaoli, according to China's official state broadcaster.

"We look forward to expanding our operations in China with a new Research and Development center as we continue to grow our talented team here," an Apple spokesperson said.

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

Cook earlier this week in a wide-ranging interview with the Washington Post marking five years as chief executive at the company, said: "We have done fairly well in China."

Read more: This is the huge amount of money Apple is spending on R&D right now

Apple sales were down 33 per cent in the last quarter in China but it is a significant target market – as with most companies – due to its size and population. Responding to questioning on the issue amd whether he was concerned about competition and regulation in the country, he said the company was thinking long term.

"We make our investment decisions based on long term. We have to report every 90 days because that’s the rules, but it’s not how we run the company," he said.

"So as I look in the long term, I think China is an unbelievable market — not only from a demand point of view and the revenue potential there, but also as a great source of talent. We have over a million and a half developers there. The reach is unbelievable.

There are, sort of, speed bumps now with the economy. In a year-ago quarter, we were up 112 percent. So I think you have to back up and put it in perspective. If you look at it over a two-year basis, we were up over 50 percent in the quarter."

Apple had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication.