Apple is reportedly on an engineer hiring spree, poaching staff from HTC and other firms in Taiwan, to speed up how quickly it can develop and launch products and new technologies, it's reported. The Cupertino firm's Chinese engineer and operations staff roster is said to have swollen by several hundred over just the past two years, and is now believed to amount to more than 600.
The aggressive talent-grab began in mid-2013, insiders told the WSJ, with the company said to be using LinkedIn last August to specifically cherry-pick engineer targets employed by its rivals.
So far, HTC, Inventec, and Quanta Computing have all seen engineers hired away by Apple, it's said. "Apple is building an engineering team in Taipei to drive new iPhone product development" a message reviewed by the Journal and said to have been sent by Apple's recruiters to a potential hire read.
The motivation, it's said, is to cater to what Apple execs have on several occasions described as the next big growth market for smartphones and other consumer electronics: China. It follows the long-anticipated deal with China Mobile to bring iPhone to its network last month, a launch which saw Apple CEO Tim Cook fly out to be there in person.
According to the rumors, while Apple's core development on existing and future products and technologies will remain in Cupertino, new roles in Greater China will span a broad range of tasks. That will include hardware development, particularly working with local suppliers of components like touchscreens and cameras, as well as quality assurance.
The poaching may well have an prolonged consequence on rivals like HTC, who have struggled to raise their profile above the near-ubiquitous Apple and Samsung smartphone ranges. HTC is expected to reveal its new 2014 flagship later this month, the new HTC One, known for some time by its codename M8. An earlier leak showed off some of the new features, including dual-cameras and a new design.