Steve Jobs, Apple’s late co-founder, apparently never went to China, at least not on official Apple business. But the new CEO, Tim Cook, just went there and he visited the Apple Store in Joy City, a shopping mall in Xidan, Beijing. Local news posted a photo of Tim taking time to pose with a fan, at the store.
While the real purpose of the visit is a secret, like we’re used to when it comes to Apple, rumors are that Tim Cook whent to China to discuss iPhone 5 with the major mobile carriers there, hopefully this means Apple can finally take their iPhone to China Mobile, the biggest mobile operator in china with more than 600 million subscribers. Actually, despite not even selling the iPhone yet, there are 15 million iPhones on China Mobile’s network already, up from 10 million in October.
But nobody really knows what he was doing in China, besides posing for fan photos. It’s also possible that Tim went there to fix Foxconn strikes before iPhone 5 production, or maybe he went there to negotiate a deal with ProView’s iPad trademark lawsuit?
Either way, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg reports that Tim Cook “had a great time”:
Cook, who is on his first trip to China since becoming chief executive of the Cupertino, Calif.-based company, “had great meetings with Chinese officials today. China is very important to us and we look forward to even greater investment and growth here,” said spokeswoman Carolyn Wu. She declined to identify any of the Chinese officials or give further details on the meetings.
Exactly how important is the Chinese market to Apple? Well, currently you can only find iPhone 4S deals in China by going to China Unicom and China Telecom which are the only two carriers offering the iPhone, despite that, Apple is now activating more iPhones in China than in any other market, including United States. So, quite a big market it would seem.
On another note, rumors are that Apple will soon be adding Baidu as a search engine option in iOS. Perhaps to make Google even less part of iOS, or perhaps just because Baidu is a much bigger search engine in China than Google, accounting for around 80% of all Chinese searches.