In the same week as Tim Cook went on the charm offensive in China and Apple opened a new app design accelerator in India, the Cupertino company has now officially unveiled the next step in its mission to capitalize on Asia: a new development hub in Hyderabad, India.
The news isn’t all that surprising, as reports circulated earlier this year that Apple was set to open a new base in the southern Indian state of Telangana, but Apple has now confirmed full details of the office, which will focus specifically on developing Apple Maps.
Apple says the new office, which will be located at WaveRock campus on the outskirts of the city, will create up to 4,000 jobs and represents the company’s first development hub outside the U.S.
While Apple Maps has historically been regarded as inferior to alternatives such as Google Maps, the company’s booming hardware business — bolstered substantially by iPhone — has meant that it has relied less on services. But with iPhone sales slowing, services will prove pivotal to Apple’s future, which is why it recently invested $1 billion in Chinese ridesharing company Didi Chuxing. Apple’s also rumored to be working on a major update to its Apple Music streaming service following heavy criticism, and it also launched Apple Pay in China this year.
“Apple is focused on making the best products and services in the world and we are thrilled to open this new office in Hyderabad which will focus on Maps development,” said Apple CEO Tim Cook, in a press release. “The talent here in the local area is incredible and we are looking forward to expanding our relationships and introducing more universities and partners to our platforms as we scale our operations.”
Apple Maps has improved considerably in recent years, and reports suggest that it’s now used three times more often on iOS than Google Maps, but many still consider it inferior. And given that maps are such a key service on mobile, Apple’s move to open a major hub dedicated to just that is notable.