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

Voters are on the sidelines as the port fills a vacant seat

Troy McClelland resigned from the Port of Everett commission too late for an election before 2019.

Don’t rely just on productivity measurements to value a worker

The controversies swirling around the productivity data at the national level are… Continue reading

In space capsules today, little room but big improvement

Boeing and SpaceX are relying on a tried-and-true design as they each develop new spacecraft.

First Boeing KC-46 delivery to Air Force slides into 2018

Certification milestones have been missed, and problems have emerged in flight test, a source says.

SEC reveals hack, possibility info was used for trading

The regulatory agency said the hack was discovered last year.

Newest must-try eatery: 85°C Bakery Cafe in Lynnwood

The popular bakery, part of a Taiwan-based chain, is already drawing out-the-door crowds.

Snohomish County tax liens

Tax liens are gathered from online public records filed with the Snohomish… Continue reading

Trudeau: Canada could stop dealing with Boeing over dispute

Boeing had petitioned the U.S. to investigate government subsidies of Bombardier’s CSeries aircraft.

Toys ‘R’ Us files for bankruptcy but keeps stores open

Retailers of all kinds are struggling. Toys ‘R’ Us is among at least 18 other bankruptcies this year.

Most Read