FILE PHOTO: Apple CEO Tim Cook takes part in the China Development Forum in Beijing, China, March 18, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter
BEIJING (Reuters) – Apple chief executive Tim Cook pushed China on Saturday to open up and said that the future would depend on international cooperation, such as the United States and China continued to be embroiled in a bitter trade dispute.
“We encourage China to continue opening up, we see that as essential, not only for China to its full potential, but for the global economy to flourish,” Cook said at a China Development Forum in Beijing.
Despite the official commitments and repeated assurances that China would continue opening of the markets, some analysts worry that the reform of the project is slowed down or even stopped under President Xi Jinping, who has sought greater control over the economy and a greater role for state-owned enterprises at the expense of the private sector.
Cook’s comments come as Apple again sinking sales in China, as a contracting smartphone market, the increasing pressure from Chinese rivals and slowing down upgrade cycles. The company reported a sales decline of 26 percent in the greater China region during the quarter ending in December.
Before these results came in a January letter to investors, Cook blamed the company’s poor China performance on the trade tension between the United States and China, which suggests that the pressure on the economy was hurting sales in China.
Reporting by Brenda Goh; Writing by John Ruwitch; Editing by Robert Birsel