RALEIGH – Copier giant Xerox (NYSE: XRX) plans to open a “Center of Excellence” in Cary, creating 600 jobs, officials announced Tuesday.

The $18.4 million operation will focus on “accelerating innovation” and digital efforts, Xerox Chief Technology Officer Naresh Shanker said during a news conference at the State Capitol.

“This is essential for our long-term growth,” Shanker said, noting that the Cary facility will be Xerox’s fourth Center of Excellence, joining operations in Palo Alto, Calif., Webster, N.Y., and Toronto.

The jobs will have an average annual salary of more than $112,000.

“These things don’t just happen,” Gov. Roy Cooper said during the news conference. “A company like Xerox looks at a lot of places.”

Cooper noted the state and local efforts to improve workforce training and Wake County’s quality of life as key drivers in bringing Xerox to Cary.

Wake Technical Community College already is in discussions with the company about customized training, he said.

Incentives also played a role in Xerox’s decision, as the state Economic Investment Committee approved a Job Development Investment Grant of up to $12.3 million over 12 years for the company.

JDIGs rebate a portion of employee state withholding taxes to a company that meets annual investment and hiring targets.

There was no immediate word on any incentives offered by Cary or Wake County.