Tim Cook Praises Apple's 'Symbiotic Relationship' With China During Beijing Visit

Apple CEO Tim Cook has praised his company's "symbiotic relationship" with China during his first visit to the country in the last three years.

tim cook china 2023

Tim Cook shares a photo of his visit to Apple's Wangfujing store via Weibo

In his first visit since the pandemic began in 2020, the Apple chief gave a keynote speech over the weekend at the China Development Forum, where he said he "could not be more excited" to celebrate Apple's 30th anniversary in the country, where the company makes the vast majority of its iPhones.

"Apple and China . . . grew together and so this has been a symbiotic kind of relationship," said Cook, according to a report by the Financial Times.

Cook was among several U.S. tech company chiefs in Beijing, where the forum has been billed as an opening-up party after three years of lockdowns and restrictions as a result of President Xi Jinping's strict zero-Covid policy, which heavily impacted Apple's operations and led to a shortage of iPhone 14 models during the holiday period.

According to the FT report, Cook avoided mention of tensions between the U.S. and China during his keynote, which occurred during a session about technology and education, and instead talked up the millions of iOS developers in the country, as well as the success of its Apple stores in the region.

Bloomberg on Monday reported that Cook went on to meet China's minister of commerce Wang Wentao. "Both sides exchanged views about Apple's development in China and stabilizing the industry supply chain," according to a statement given to the outlet by Wang's ministry. Wang also reportedly told Cook that China will continue to open up and provide good services to foreign firms including Apple.

Apple last month released its financial results for the quarter ending in December, reporting a roughly 5% decline in revenue compared to the year-ago quarter. Apple cited a "challenging environment" that included iPhone supply issues due to COVID lockdowns in China, which hampered its ability to ship devices to customers.

China's smartphone market finished 2022 with an annual shipment of 287 million units, a year-on-year decrease of 14% and the first time since 2013 that the country's market shipment has fallen below 300 million units, according to a report by Canalys. Apple reached an all-time-high market share of 18% for the year, despite growth for the fourth quarter dropping by 24% due to supply issues, said the report.

Apple has been trying to diversify its supply chain outside of China to reduce its reliance on the country and mitigate the impact of geopolitical unrest, with Vietnam, and more recently India, emerging as important locations for supply chain expansion and investment.

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Top Rated Comments

MrTangent Avatar
16 months ago
Does he praise their treatment of the Uyghurs? How about Tibet?
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mectojic Avatar
16 months ago
He has to pander until Apple can get out of the country.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)
iamgalt Avatar
16 months ago

>"Apple and China . . . grew together and so this has been a symbiotic kind of relationship,"

If I was China, I would be extremely concerned. China views themselves as being independent from western companies. If Tim Cook believes that China needs Apple to survive, it almost seems like he's daring China to kick Apple out.

I hope that quote won't come back to bite Apple.
I kind of hope it does come back. Not because I want Apple to fail, but because I want Apple (and any other company) out of China as soon as possible.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Sciomar Avatar
16 months ago
The one country we could do with a little less involvement with, at least until they learn how to treat their own citizens better.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
PinkyMacGodess Avatar
16 months ago
Wow... So should we be concerned?
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MacWiz_007 Avatar
16 months ago
Tim Cook is one of the biggest hypocritical scum bags on this planet.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)