Cook on new products, China Mobile, retail and why he loves China

Tim Cook and Miao Wei

Apple’s Tim Cook is on his second China tour since becoming the CEO. Cook has attended meetings in Beijing with government officials, he visited Apple stores and met with China Mobile, the world’s top carrier with 700 million subscribers, to talk “matters of cooperation” amid intensifying rumors of a possible iPhone deal with that carrier.

Apple’s chief also confirmed that the cellular version of the iPad mini will arrive on the mainland in late January and talked business and discussed wide-ranging topics with the Chinese media on Thursday, here are some choice quotes…

According to Reuters, China’s news portal Sina Technology News quoted Cook as saying that Apple “will continue to expand in China and the number of retail stores we’ll have will exceed 25”. The company currently operates eleven stores in the Greater China region and has “many resellers” in the country.

apple store china line

The news gathering organization notes that the lack of a deal with China Mobile has hurt Apple’s fortunes lately because “Chinese users switch to other smartphone brands from Samsung Electronics and Lenovo Group”. Cook said he deeply respects China Mobile, but refused to comment on the possibility of cooperating with the carrier.

Samsung is planning to refresh its flagship consumer electronics products at a media event on February 21. Apple is expected to refresh iPads during the first quarter and unveil possibly two new iPhones by summer, one high-end model and the other for budget buyers. The rumor-mill is also bracing itself for an Apple-branded smart watch and a standalone TV set with a Retina-quality display.

According to the Sina report, Cook has actually visited China at least 20 times since 1996.

The Parkland Mall (Dalian, China, exterior 0010

This shouldn’t surprise anyone: Cook has long been Apple’s op-chief and as such dealt with Apple’s vast oversea network of suppliers and manufacturers.

Cook surprisingly states that “China has always been Apple’s most important market”.

Not the #2 or #3 market, but the most important market.

Go figure.

China now contributes to roughly one-fifth of Apple’s revenue.

Tim Cook with fan at Joy store in Beijing

He said the country “is now our second largest market” and is convinced that in the near future, “China will become Apple’s largest market”.

The Next Web also has this cute quote, translated by author Josh Ong:

I love China because it is full of life, full of energy and it’s a quickly-changing market.

He also wishes China to be among first countries in which Apple debuts new products.

Apple typically faces difficulties launching new gadgets in the 1.33 billion people market simultaneously with the US and other key markets due to complicated regulations contributing to a longer approval time. He said Apple’s been working to shorten the process in order to bring its gadgets to China faster.

Apple Store (Wangfujung, Beijing, exterior 003)

He refused to talk about Apple’s upcoming products (“I can not talk about the current product roadmap”), apart from hinting that the upcoming products are exciting (machine-translated):

I can reveal on the research and development of products, and I am very excited. Apple never Innovation scarce, I am satisfied with the current achievements of Apple is the only one integrated software, hardware and services company and proud our outstanding products continue to push up consumer expectations, but we have higher expectations of future products within.

If our Chinese readers would like to contribute to this article with a more accurate translation, hit us in comments and we’ll update the quotes accordingly.

The top image is credited to MIIT.