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Apple CEO Tim Cook touring China, pledges Asia-Pacific R&D center

In the midst of a visit to China, Apple CEO Tim Cook has promised to open up an Asia-Pacific research and development center in the country by the end of 2016.

According to Reuters, Cook made the comment confirming the research center in a meeting with Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli. Also reportedly present at the meeting was chief Apple manufacturer Foxconn's CEO Terry Gou. No specific location in the country for the center's construction has been announced.

Cook is doing more in China than visiting governmental officials — among his stops, he's also met with a high-profile Chinese fashion designer.

"Nihao, Beijing! It's great to be back. Started my trip today by visiting with the incomparable Guo Pei," Cook posted on social media venue Sina Weibo. "Thrilled to see how her team is using iPad Pro as Guo Pei designs her new collection."

Other stops so far have included a gym using the Apple Watch as a fitness tracker, as well as a home showroom utilizing Apple's HomeKit.

Last quarter, Apple's revenue from Greater China came in at $8.85 billion for the quarter, down 33 percent from the same time last year.

Apple's media sales are still restricted in the country. In April, the Apple movie and e-book stores were shut down, with the Chinese government demanding more oversight. In the most recent quarterly earnings report question and answer session, Cook said that the two stores were not a source of significant revenue.

In June, youthful protestors took issue with a UN decision over territories in the South and East China Seas. Videos circulating on social media depicted protesters wearing patriotic apparel and smashing iPhones in protest.

Apple's iPhone install base has grown 34 percent over the last year, despite declining revenue in the country. The most populous wireless carrier in china, China Mobile, claims more iPhones operating on its network than any other brand.

This visit to China marks Cook's ninth visit since he assumed the mantle of Apple CEO in August 2011.