Apple CEO Tim Cook Makes Surprise Visit to China

Apple CEO Tim Cook made a surprise visit to Chengdu, China, meeting with gamers at the company’s Taikoo Li store and embracing the local tech scene, reports BBC News.

During his visit, Cook interacted with players of Tencent’s popular online game “Honour of Kings,” stating on Chinese social media platform Weibo that the “energy tonight was off the charts!” In an interview with state-run China Daily, Cook praised the game as a “global phenomenon on the App Store” and expressed hope that Chinese developers would find similar success with software for Apple’s new Vision Pro augmented reality headset.

This marks Cook’s second trip to China this year. In March, he described Apple’s relationship with China as “symbiotic.” However, the company’s operations in the country have been complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing U.S.-China tensions. Apple has recently sought to diversify its production to India amid these challenges.

Analysts who spoke to Bloomberg indicated that sales of Apple’s latest iPhone 15 models have not met expectations, attributing the slump to waning demand in China and stiffening competition from local rivals. Huawei, for instance, launched its Mate 60 Pro phone in August, featuring advanced Chinese-made chips, signaling that competitors are closing the gap.

Cook posted on Weibo that he also visited the No. 4 Elementary School in Yucheng District, where students were leveraging iPads for education, plus a visit to Sichuan where he checked out rural development.

“For the past ten years, Apple has partnered with @China Rural Development Foundation to support rural development in Sichuan. Thanks to Xiaolong and Miping for showing me how you can use iPads to transform local agriculture and provide more opportunities for more customers across the country to taste amazing manna tea!”, said Cook.

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