Apple is planning to open its first research and development centre in China later this year, the company said. Chief executive officer Tim Cook revealed the plans about increasing investment in R&D in the country after a meeting with China's vice premier Zhang Gaoli.

The latest move comes just after it reported revenue drop in third quarter in China; a market where Apple faces stiff competition from the local vendors such as Huawei and Oppo.

In its third quarter earnings Apple reported a 33% year-on-year drop in revenue in China. The company generated $8.9bn (£6.8bn) revenue in Q3 in China. The figure was $13bn in the same quarter last year.

The R&D centre will have both new and existing staff. Apple already has 9,000 staff in the country. Apple has 45 corporate offices in China, reports Financial Times.

"The centre will open later this year, bringing together our engineering and operations teams in China as we develop advanced technologies and services for our products, both for our customers in China and around the world," the company said.

Apple is investing more in future products. It reported a 26% increase in its quarterly R&D spending to $2.6bn. Apple's annual R&D is now $10bn. Apple has invested $1bn in Chinese car-hailing service Didi Chuxing this year.

China is a key market for Apple. But earlier this year Apple's iTunes and iBooks services were blocked in China. The company lost a patent case in Beijing when the Intellectual Property Office ruled that iPhone 6 and 6s models have identical design as Shenzhen Baili's 100C phone.