Apple may be planning a major investment in infrastructure in China. Separate reports say the company is recruiting some 200 local experts. Positions advertised include both technical and support-level experts, like an environmental affairs manager, a “sensing system hardware engineer,” and a store specialist.
The new efforts may be quite a departure from Apple’s more typical habit of using local manufacturing expertise like that offered by Foxconn and Pegatron. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook was recently in China and was said to have talked with China Mobile–the world’s largest carrier–representing a huge growth opportunity for Apple in a place where Android seems to rule on locally branded hardware. China Mobile says its talks are going well with Apple, and that it wants to carry the iPhone once some technical wrinkles are ironed out.
The maker of the iPhone and iPad is expected to release a new cheaper version of the iPhone in September. China has long been tipped as perhaps Apple’s biggest growth opportunity area. But the company’s relationship with the country has been bumpy, suffering from a bizarre smear campaign and recent issues with third-party chargers that allegedly electrocuted customers.