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Apple invests $44M into Indonesian R&D to unlock local iPhone sales

Apple has reportedly agreed to invest $44 million in an Indonesian research and development center, in a move likely geared mainly toward opening up sales of the iPhone 7, as well as future iPhones.

Starting in January, all 4G phones sold in Indonesia must meet a requirement of 30 percent local content, Reuters explained on Friday. While a similar rule exists in India, in Indonesia, this can be met with software or investment and not just physical components — Apple received a "local content certification" in November, according to a director-general from the country's industry ministry, Gusti Putu Suryawirawan.

The $44 million will be spent over three years, Suryawirawan said, letting the company sell iPhones priced at $448 and above, which includes every current model.

Apple will have to take ground from firmly established Android phone makers if it wants a share of the Indonesian market. Samsung has a 26 percent share in the country, followed by Oppo's 19 percent, and both of those companies offer cheaper alternatives to the iPhone in their product lines.

The region does have a population of over 250 million people however, likely offering Apple enough room to capture at least part of the high-end smartphone market.