Tim Cook visits China to discuss Apple growth

APPLE chief executive Tim Cook has met with government officials in Beijing after a turbulent few months for the iPad maker’s Chinese operations.

The Cupertino-based company declined to elaborate on details of the visit, which is Cook’s first trip to China since becoming chief executive, but hinted it was looking at expansion in the country.

An Apple spokesperson said: “China is very important to us and we look forward to even greater investment and growth here.”

This follows Tim Cook’s line of thought. “China – the sky’s the limit there,” he said in October.

China is one of Apple’s most crucial areas for growth. It is the world’s largest mobile market and Apple’s second biggest market overall. The tech giant generated over £2.8bn in the country in the fourth quarter last year, which accounted for 16 per cent of global sales, and showed a quadruple increase from earlier in the year.

But Apple has been hit by a slew of problems in China, including a legal battle with Proview Technologies over the trademark “IPAD”.

Amazon’s Chinese website halted sales of the tablet as Proview petitioned retailers to stop iPad sales.

Apple also came under attack over the working conditions at its factories, including the Foxconn plant in southern China where employees are striking over a pay dispute.

Apple has five stores in mainland China and one in Hong Kong.

But the iPhone is available on just two network carriers, China Unicom and China Telecom, and the latter only started selling the phone this month. The country’s biggest telecoms company, China Mobile, has more than 600m customers but does not yet carry Apple-compatible technology.