Apple is on a recruitment drive to boost staff at its “secret” corporate office in Abu Dhabi, the existence of which the US technology giant had not formally acknowledged until today.
The maker of the iPhone and iPad is currently looking to fill six key positions at its UAE corporate base, which is located within the twofour54 media zone.
Apple has always been tight-lipped about its UAE corporate office, which has been open for about three years but never announced publically.
An Apple spokesman told Al Arabiya there is a “sales office in Abu Dhabi ”, although declined to comment further about its activities.
The company is now recruiting for staff based in Abu Dhabi, with the type of jobs advertised suggesting it is looking to ramp up its sales of handsets through Middle East telecoms operators. The company is also looking to handle some operations in Africa and Asia from the UAE.
The advertised jobs are all within the Apple’s sales and legal divisions. Of the six jobs advertised on Apple’s website over the last month, several involve managing relations with regional telecoms carriers, many of which sell iPhones direct to consumers.
One job advertised is the role of Telecom Carrier Manager, with responsibilities including managing sales of handsets through telecoms partners, and handling Apple branding in stores.
“The ideal candidate will have a successful track record of growing a carrier relationship in a similar role,” Apple said on its recruitment site. The advertised position of Telecom Channel Account Manager involves “evaluating and authorizing retailer locations within approved partners”.
Other vacant positions include Sales Engineer, which involves giving demonstrations of new Apple products across the company's Mac, iPhone and iPad ranges.
Apple is also looking for a Senior Investigator in its Intellectual Property unit, with the role of “protecting Apple’s intellectual property from counterfeiters and infringers”. This role requires “strong familiarity” with intellectual property laws in both the Middle East and India, suggesting the Abu Dhabi base is also handling some activities in Asia.
Other Abu Dhabi-based jobs advertised by Apple include the positions of Premium Reseller, and Telecom Account Manager for the Africa region. The latter role was advertised as being based in Abu Dhabi, but a footnote to the job description also suggested a London base.
Rumours that Apple planned to open a corporate office in the UAE first surfaced in 2010. It had previously been announced that an Apple Authorised Training Center had opened in Abu Dhabi, but not a corporate office.
Apple’s office is located in the ‘Pink’ building at twofour54’s Abu Dhabi campus, a fact confirmed on one page on the media zone’s website. However, Apple is not listed among the media zone’s member companies. A spokesman for twofour54 declined to comment.
One UAE-based blogger wrote last year  that Apple’s Abu Dhabi office is a “something of a best kept secret”, and said that one local journalist had been “asked to desist” from writing about its existence.
One executive working in the UAE’s technology industry, who has visited Apple’s Abu Dhabi HQ, told Al Arabiya that staffing numbers there are on the increase.
“They have got people who look after the relationship with telecoms firms. They’ve added a couple more people there recently,” said the executive, who did not wish to be named.
Other technology experts based in the UAE said Apple’s office in Abu Dhabi may be used to handle modifications to iPhone handsets required locally. For example, iPhones purchased in the UAE do not come equipped with the FaceTime video-chat app.
Several members of the business-networking site LinkedIn claim to work for Apple in the UAE. Existing roles claimed by LinkedIn members include a regional manager for the iTunes service, a retail manager and executives in recruitment and training, according to LinkedIn profiles.
Apple did not specify salaries for the new positions being advertised.