On Sunday, Tim Cook delivered a speech at the Fourth World Internet Conference in China, which helps develop the digital economy while respecting the right of sovereign nations.
Chinese developers have earned more selling apps on Apple’s iOS platform than developers from any other country. Cook said there are a total of 1.8 million iOS developers in China, collectively earning a total of $16.93 billion. This equates to approximately a quarter of total global App Store earnings.
Since the App Store launched in 2008, iOS developers around the world have earned over $70 billion. In a statement at the conference, Cook said:
“The theme of this conference – developing a digital economy for openness and shared benefits – is a vision we at Apple share. We are proud to have worked alongside many of our partners in China to help build a community that will join a common future in cyberspace.”
Within the past year, China’s cyber regulations have stepped up, with new rules coming into effect that requires companies to store data locally and make it available for surveillance measures. Apple was the first foreign tech firm to announce amendments to support these regulations. Cook said:
“Much has been said of the potential downsides of AI, but I don’t worry about machines thinking like humans. I worry about people thinking like machines. We all have to work to infuse technology with humanity, with our values.”
Cook’s words appeared carefully chosen so as not to upset his Chinese hosts, who routinely curtail access to online services seen as a potential threat to the country’s internal cohesion.
China remains the world’s biggest smartphone market, one which historically Apple has struggled to penetrate. The company shipped an estimated 11 million iPhones in China last quarter, up 40 percent year-over-year.