Beijing: Apple's CEO, who is on a China visit this week and has been impressed by the significance of its secondary market, said on Thursday that new Apple products may possibly be launched in China in the future.
"I would love that to happen. China is a very important marketplace for us," said Cook in an exclusive interview with Xinhua in Beijing.
"China is currently our second largest market. I believe it will become our first. I believe strongly that it will," he said.
"We are growing very fast. We are continuing to invest in retail stores here and will open many more over the next several years. We have some great sites selected, our manufacturing base is here, and we have incredible partners here. So it's a very very important country to us."
Apple now has 11 retail stores in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Hong Kong. The one opened last October in the commercial hub of Wangfujing in Beijing is the largest in Asia.
With Cook's ongoing visit including intensive meetings with government officials, business partners, Apple employees and customers, he described these encounters as "productive" and "successful."
The tech chief did not, however, disclose details about his talks with China''s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and China Unicom, which is Apple's first business partner in China.
He said he enjoyed working with China Unicom, China Mobile and China Telecom and praised their competence.
"People around the world, regardless of culture, really want the best products. I think they love that people at Apple create products that make their lives easier and better. That's what we try to do," he said. "I feel really good about our progress in China."
Cook did not respond to the latest rumor about launching cheaper iPhones for some new emerging markets including China. Instead, he tried to emphasize the suitability of all Apple products for Chinese consumers.
"There are no Apple products that you would look at and say they are not for China. I think they are all perfect for China," he said. "I strongly believe that people from all cultures and countries want the best product. That''s what we are trying to do."
On Foxconn, Apple's supplier whose factories in China have been stranded in labor disputes, Cook responded by saying that Apple has very strict codes of conduct for suppliers to abide by, and "if they don't, we won't do business with them."
First Published: Saturday, January 12, 2013, 15:00