Why was Apple CEO Tim Cook in China?

“Thanks to a quick-thinking customer who spotted him, snapped a couple photos and posted them on Sina Weibo, a Chinese microblogging site, we learned Monday that Apple CEO Tim Cook was in Beijing, at least for a few hours,” Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports for Fortune.

“Leaving aside the iconography of an Apple CEO setting foot in the world’s largest market for iOS devices, something Steve Jobs apparently never bothered to do, what do we suppose Cook was doing there?” P.E.D. wonders. “We can imagine any number of issues that might benefit from high-level face-to-face meetings between Cook — whom the Chinese press have nicknamed “Captain Cook” — and Chinese officials.”

Among them:
• China Mobile and iPhone
• Slower-than anticipated roll-out of Apple Retail Stores
• Foxconn and Apple’s supplier code of conduct
• iPad trademark in China litigation

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Dan K.” for the heads up.]


  1. What’s the big deal? He was in charge of the whole supply chain logistics until a year ago. I would assume going to China was a common thing for him. Even though he is now CEO, I’d imaging he’s still pretty involved in his baby – the actual operations of producing the products.
    It’s not like he’s the president of the US, and this is some unprecedented meeting with a North Korean dictator.
    Does every simple event need to get the rumor mills in high gear?

  2. This kind of world beating experience and influence makes Tim Cook as a CEO make Steve Ballmer look like a small town Deputy Sheriff like Barney Fife or just country bumpkin. The way Captain Cook outclasses Ballmer T. Clown is by many orders of magnitude.

  3. China will be Apple’s growth engine for the next 5 years or more. The market potential there is mind-boggling. I’ve been going to China on a regular basis since ’94 and it’s still difficult to comprehend a nation of 1.3 billion people. To put that into perspective, that’s the equivalent of *two* United States and *all* of Europe combined. And it’s getting rich and richer every day.

    I’m quite certain that Tim Cook will be there on a regular basis in the future. It’s where Apple’s products get made and it will be a huge market for those products as well. I don’t think there is much to speculate about why he’s there. People in China love Apple stuff. The iPhone is probably the single most desirable product amongst the rising middle class as well as the upper class that can afford it.

    Asians can get rather irrationally brand-conscious and that obviously works in Apple’s favor. It really is the brand over the specs with most of these consumers and that means the likes of Samsung, LG, Sony, Nokia, etc. have to sell cheaper with much lower margins than Apple does. Apple can be the BMW/Mercedes while still going for mainstream Toyota-type of volumes.

    High-volumes with high margins… Who else but Apple can do this? And China is the ideal market to target with this rather unique business model that Apple has. Apple will need to ramp up there in a serious way – both in manufacturing and in the distribution & sales channels. I’m somewhat surprised that Apple still only has six retail stores there. Seems TC is there to show that Apple is now very, very serious about the Chinese market.

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