According various news reports, Apple CEO Tim Cook was spotted in an Apple Store in Beijing. This was enough to fuel speculation that he was there to work out deals with Chinese telecoms.
A blogger named STwing of Sina Weibo, a Chinese micro-blogging service, posted a picture of Cook at the Apple Store in the Xidan area of Beijing a.k.a Joy City. The Joy City store opened the same day that Apple launched the iPhone 4 in 2010.
Apple representatives could not be reached for comment on the reports.
Though it is not clear why Cook would be in Beijing, Apple Insider cited that “people familiar with the matter,” who said Cook was there to discuss Apple’s next iPhone with China Unicom and China Telecom, Apple’s two wireless service providers in that country. The possibility of Cook’s talks with China Mobile, a third carrier, cannot be ruled out.
This may not be Cook’s first visit to China. Some reports said that he was at Apple’s headquarters in Beijing last summer, when he was still Apple’s Chief Operating Officer (COO). The reports said that despite Apple’s vast manufacturing footprint in China, former CEO Steve Jobs never visited the country.
Apple’s China manufacturing has become a big problem for Apple of late as criticism has mounted that the company mistreated workers at manufacturing partner Foxconn. China, however, is also a huge emerging market for Apple. At least one analyst, Morgan Stanley’s Katy Huberty, believes Apple could sell as many as 40 million iPhones in that country this year.
What do you think could be the reason for Tim Cook’s China visit? Post your comments.
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