Apple CEO Tim Cook in China to expand market presence

Telecom Lead Asia: Apple CEO Tim Cook is meeting with partners and government officials in China.

This is Cook’s second visit to the firm’s second-largest market in less than a year, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

Apple CEO Tim Cook

China, Apple’s biggest market after the United States, currently accounts for about 15 percent of its annual revenue.

The visit is significant as China is Apple’s fastest-growing market.

Last month, Apple sold more than 2 million iPhone 5s in the country in three days, the company’s best ever smartphone launch in the country.

Its success in China will depend on its association with China Mobile, the world’s top telecoms carrier based on mobile user base.

“Tim is in Beijing meeting with government officials and partners. China is an important market for us and we look forward to continued customer excitement and growth here,” said Apple’s spokeswoman in China Carolyn Wu.

In China, the iPhone is currently sold through Apple’s seven stores, resellers and through China Unicom and China Telecom – which together have fewer than half the mobile subscribers of bigger rival China Mobile.

According to media reports, a deal with China’s biggest carrier is seen as crucial to improving Apple’s distribution in a market of 290 million users. Apple has been in talks on a tie-up with China Mobile for four years.

China Mobile and Apple initially said they were separated only by a technical issue – as the Chinese carrier runs a different 3G network from most of the world – but that has evolved into a broader and more complex issue of revenue-sharing.

On Tuesday, Cook met with the Minister of Industry and Information Technology, Miao Wei, where they discussed the development of the smartphone industry and innovation trends, according to a statement posted on the ministry’s website.

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