Apple investing half a billion dollars in Chinese R&D centers as it announces two more

Apple has revealed that it will be investing more than $500M in research & development in China, as it today announced plans for two more R&D centers in the country.

The new offices will be in Shanghai and Suzhou, and follow those already announced for Beijing and Shenzhen. All four centers are expected to open later this year.

Apple says that there is a compelling reason for the investment …

Apple’s research and development center in China aims to develop technical experts in the Apple supply chain and [among] graduates from universities such as Peking University, Tsinghua University and Shanghai Jiaotong University. As part of Apple’s continued growth and investment in China, the company has partnered with schools to include internship programs to help develop the next generation of entrepreneurs.

While Apple carries out the bulk of its new product development program in Cupertino, it has a number of satellite R&D centers around the world. Gaining access to local academics, and attracting bright researchers who may not want to leave their home city or country, is a key reason for many of these.

“We are looking forward to working with more local partners and academic institutions through the expansion of R & D centers in China,” said Dan Riccio, senior vice president of hardware engineering at Apple. “We are honored to have excellent talent and positive entrepreneurial spirit in China And here the developers and suppliers to work together, so that our business in this market to flourish.”

It has, however, also been suggested that the company also has political motives, seeking to curry favor with Chinese authorities. Apple noted in the announcement that while it only directly employs around 12,000 employees in China, it has ‘created and supported’ 4.8M jobs in the country, including 1.8M iOS app developers.

You can follow on Twitter, add us to your circle on Google+ or like our Facebook page to keep yourself updated on all the latest from Apple and the Web.