Apple boss Tim Cook recently made clear that in time he expects China to become the tech company’s largest market, replacing the US. It may therefore come as little surprise to learn that Apple is reported to be on the verge of opening a large R&D facility in the eastern Chinese metropolis of Shanghai, as it seeks to expand its business and build on the success of its iPhone, iPad and other products.
The news came on the same day that Sony announced it had struck a $1.1 billion deal to offload its US HQ building in New York as the Japanese company continues in its quest to turn its business around after years of heavy losses.
$8 million a year
Apple will move into its R&D center this summer, Apple Insider reports (via CNET China and BrightWire). Construction of the three six-story buildings is apparently complete, although the facility is yet to be kitted out, the report said. The Cupertino company is expected to pay annual rent of over 50 million yuan (around $8 million) for the 100,000-square-feet space.
Cook made his second visit to China in less than a year earlier this month as he seeks to lay the groundwork for further growth and expansion in the Asian country. During his trip he reportedly met with with Xi Guohua, chairman of the world’s largest mobile carrier, China Mobile, which doesn’t yet offer the iPhone. Also, Apple is expected to open more stores in the nation in the coming years, adding to its current tally of eight.
As for Sony, the business is doing better since Kazuo Hirai took control of the Japanese firm in April last year, but there’s still much to be done. Looking at ways to make savings, the electronics firm has announced it is selling its US headquarters on Madison Avenue in Manhattan for $1.1 billion, netting Sony around $685 million.
Sony said it will remain in the building for up to three years before relocating. Last week it was reported that the company is planning to sell one of its main Tokyo buildings, despite having moved in only two years ago.
In 2012 Sony announced its intention to shed 10,000 jobs and focus on its core businesses as part of a major restructuring plan which it hopes will enable it to once again experience the kind of success it enjoyed in decades past.