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I understand 〜として to have the basic meaning of "as" or "assuming X" for making certain hypothetical statements, but I'm confused what function it serves in the following statement:

スルージ氏はアップルのモデム開発の取り組みについて、今年始まったばかりだとしており、「長期の戦略的投資」と表現している。

The above is E>J translation from the WSJ. Below is the original:

Mr. Srouji said Apple’s modem effort just kicked off this year, and he described it as a “long-term strategic investment”.

The statement from Mr. Srouji is not hypothetical but something he actually said explicitly at a public forum, so the として doesn't seem to add any intelligible meaning or grammatical information to the statement as far as I can make out.

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This とする is a way of saying "to state/say/consider (one's opinion/standpoint)". This construction is used to report someone's opinion about a certain issue, and is particularly common in newspapers.

  • 会社は当初、これはバグではないとしていた。
    At first, the company had stated that this was not a bug.
  • 問題はあるとする人とないとする人
    those who believe it's a problem and those who don't

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