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Business

Apple setting up 1st R&D center outside US

SILICON VALLEY -- Apple will establish an R&D facility in Japan, the company's first overseas site of its kind, with plans to tap more of the country's cutting-edge technologies for its products.

     The research and development center, to be staffed by several dozen people, is expected to launch as early as next spring in Yokohama's Minato Mirai district, according to the plan announced Tuesday. The facility will help expand its business in Japan and create jobs, Apple said.

     The U.S. company's R&D functions are concentrated in Cupertino, California, where its headquarters is located. Eager parts suppliers from around the world have set up offices in the area, sending their personnel to Apple to pitch their products.

     Apple's iPhone and iPad use many components made by Japanese manufacturers. The opening of Apple's R&D center in Japan could lead to more joint development of components with local suppliers, resulting in even more Japanese components being used.

     Meanwhile, there are also concerns that Apple's new R&D facility will lure engineers away from Japanese manufacturers.

     Apple's decision "will be a positive for Japan as a whole, but could have some negative implications for individual companies," said Yasuo Nakane, senior analyst at Deutsche Securities.

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