All four centers are set to open later this year, according to a statement on Apple's China website. The hope is that the company will be able to attract graduates and talent from local universities.
The announcement comes as Apple chief executive Tim Cook plans to attend a high-profile business conference in China over the weekend and as the U.S. tech giant struggles in China. Greater China revenues fell 12 percent year over year in the quarter ended December 31 after following several quarters of declines, the company has reported. The iPhone faces stiff competition from local players such as Oppo and Vivo which are selling high-quality handsets at lower prices than Apple's flagship device.
Committing money to China could give Apple some favor with the government but also helps it access the local knowledge and talent that's required to compete in the country. Investors are looking forward to the upcoming 10th anniversary edition iPhone to boost sales at the company following its first annual revenue decline since 2001 in its last fiscal year.