China will be Apple’s biggest market, CEO says

BEIJING — Apple expects China to overtake the United States as its biggest market, CEO Tim Cook told a Chinese government news agency.

“China is currently our second largest market. I believe it will become our first. I believe strongly that it will,” the Xinhua News Agency quoted Cook as saying in an interview.

The report gave no details of when Cook thought China might pass the United States. Apple Inc. spokespeople in China did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Apple has said sales in China more than doubled in 2010 and 2011 though growth has slowed in the past year.

Apple’s iPhones, iPads and other gadgets are popular with China’s highest-earning consumers but its fast-growing smartphone market is dominated by handsets that use rival Google Inc.’s Android system.

Cook was in Beijing to meet with Chinese regulators and managers of state-owned China Unicom Ltd., the first Chinese carrier to support Apple’s iPhone.

Xinhua said Cook did not respond to rumors Apple might be developing a lower-cost iPhone for developing markets such as China.

Also in Beijing, Cook met the chairman of China Mobile Ltd., the world’s biggest phone carrier, with more than 700 million subscribers. China Mobile has no agreement to support the iPhone, and adding it as a partner would help Apple increase its appeal in China.

China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua and Cook discussed “bilateral cooperation,” the phone company said in a statement. It said release of other details was barred by a confidentiality agreement between the companies.

China Mobile says its network already is used by several million customers who brought in unlocked iPhones from abroad.

Apple opened a multistory flagship store on a prominent corner in Beijing’s busy Wangfujing shopping district in October, raising its number of mainland retail outlets to 11. Independent stores also resell Apple products.

According to Xinhua, Cook responded to complaints about wages and other work issues at Foxconn, the Taiwanese company that assembles Apple’s products in vast factories in China, by saying his company enforces strict codes of conduct for its suppliers.

“We care very deeply about every worker that touches an Apple product, whether they are making it, selling it, serving it or marketing it. We hold ourselves to a very high standard there,” he was quoted as saying.

More in Herald Business Journal

Best foot forward: Ferndale company to make custom shoes easy

Long specializing in insoles, Superfeet is putting 3-D machines in stores to make customized shoes.

Does a hypersonic US reconnaissance plane already exist?

A Skunk Works executive speaks of the top secret aircraft as if it is already in operation.

Alaska Airlines has selected destinations for new service from Paine Field. (Alaska Airlines)
Alaska Airlines will fly from Everett to 8 West Coast cities

Two destinations that didn’t make the list were Spokane and Hawaii.

Port of Everett CEO Les Reardanz has been called up and will be spending much of the year away from his office. He is going to Afghanistan. (Dan Bates / The Herald)
Port of Everett CEO reporting for duty — in Afghanistan

Les Reardanz has been called to active duty with the Navy for an eight-month deployment.

Boeing opens new $17 million training center in Auburn

Workers and dignitaries marked the grand opening of the facility Monday.

Trump’s company fights efforts to shed the president’s name

“Our homes are worth more without the Trump name.”

Airbus floats shutdown of A380 superjumbo

The aircraft is so big that some airports had to expand runways to accommodate the 550-seat plane.

Amanda Strong (left) tries on an Angel of the Winds Arena hat as she and Courtney Brown hand out gift bags after the renaming ceremony Dec. 13 in Everett. The new name replaces the Xfinity name. (Andy Bronson / Her file)
Angel of the Winds to break ground on $60M casino expansion

“We think we’re on the cusp of becoming a major resort.”

Why 7-Eleven, inventor of the Slurpee, is going organic

As sales of gas, cigarettes and soda plummet, stores to offer “better-for-you” products.

Most Read