What Does Tim Cook Have Planned for China?

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) chief executive Tim Cook must have something big on his China roadmap, as he was back in the country for his second visit in less than 10 months and met with the head of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. According to a statement posted on the ministry’s website, Cook was meeting Miao Wei to discuss the development of China’s information technology industry, global mobile communications, and Apple’s business in China, Bloomberg said.

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China has grown rapidly to become one of Apple’s most significant markets, but it is also an area that needs nurturing to grow further. Apple’s China sales were $5.7 billion for the fiscal quarter through September, about 16 percent of the global total. Apple opened three new retail stores in mainland China last year to bring the total to eight. The number of stores in the country has doubled since Cook’s last visit in March when he pledged “greater investment” in what is now the world’s largest market for mobile phones, but in a country of 1.34 billion, there is still scope for growth.

The country is also Apple’s manufacturing headquarters, and last year saw sustained scrutiny of the company’s labor practices. Cook had visited a Foxconn factory during that visit.

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Apple currently has wireless partnerships with China Telecom (NYSE:CHA) and China Unicom (NYSE:CHU), but is yet to agree on a deal with the largest provider in the country, China Mobile (NYSE:CHL).

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