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Apple says it will open a second research facility in China

Apple says it will open a second research facility in China
Chinese customers test the new iPhone 7 during the opening of sales at an Apple store in Shanghai on Sept. 16, 2016. (Johannes Eisele / AFP/Getty Images)

Apple Inc. plans to open its second research and development center in China, a move that could help bolster the tech giant’s presence in a lucrative market.

The Cupertino, Calif., company said Wednesday it would open a facility next year in the manufacturing hub of Shenzhen.

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In a statement, Apple said the center would allow the company's engineering team to "work even more closely and collaboratively" with its manufacturing partners.

"The Shenzhen center, along with the Beijing center, is also aimed at strengthening relationships with local partners and universities as we work to support talent development across the country," Apple said.

Last month, Beijing was revealed to be the site of the first research and development center Apple will open in China. Apple plans to eventually invest $45 million in the Beijing facility, which will have 500 employees, according to the state-run China Daily newspaper.

At the time, analysts said the Beijing center could help Apple better understand the vital Chinese market, as well as maintain goodwill with the Chinese government.

Apple's iTunes and iBooks platforms have been suspended in China since April. Yet, Apple products, especially the iPhone, remain popular with Chinese consumers.

Apple has made other inroads in China. In May, the company invested $1 billion in Chinese ride-hailing firm Didi Chuxing.

On Tuesday, tech website the Information reported that Apple got a seat on Didi Chuxing's board just a few weeks after the investment.

Apple did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

For more business news, follow me @smasunaga

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