China Mobile confirms Tim Cook met with chairman during recent visit

By , Jul 31, 2013

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Tim Cook was spotted in China again this week, reportedly talking to local carriers about recent less-than-stellar iPhone sales in the area. The CEO was said to have met with China Telecom, the third largest provider in the country.

But today, spokespeople for China Mobile confirmed that Cook also met with chairman Xi Guohua during his visit to discuss “matters of cooperation.” China Mobile’s the largest carrier in the world, and has yet to ink an iPhone deal…

Here’s Reuters:

“Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook on Tuesday met with the head of China Mobile Ltd, the world’s largest mobile carrier by subscribers and the only Chinese carrier that doesn’t offer iPhones and iPads.

The meeting with China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua in Beijing was to discuss matters of cooperation, the Chinese firm told Reuters in an emailed statement. It gave no further details.”

This isn’t the first time Tim Cook has met with China Mobile to discuss a partnership. He’s been spotted at the carrier’s Beijing headquarters several times, as recent as January of this year. But the talks have thus far proved unfruitful.

Apple CEO Tim Cook walks with employees as he arrives at the headquarters of China Telecom in Beijing

A deal between the two companies would prove huge though, particularly for Apple. The company announced last week that sales in Greater China, which includes Taiwan and Hong Kong, had slumped 43% from the previous quarter.

China Mobile, and its customer base of roughly 700 million subscribers, could easily turn things around for Apple in the country. The demand is certainly there—the carrier tracks more than 10 million unlocked iPhones on its network.

Something else to think about is that Apple is widely expected to debut two new iPhones this fall—one of them being of the budget variety with a price tag of around $300. That would certainly pair nicely with a new China Mobile deal.

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