The CEO of Apple Tim Cook stated that he is optimistic most of its popular apps that were removed from the China App Store this year due to government regulations would soon be reinstated.
Cook mentioned this while giving a speech at the ongoing Fortune Forum in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou. He further added that as an individual and as a representative of Apple, he strongly believes in freedom. This comment though is likely in response to a democratic senator’s remarks who stated on Tuesday that Apple had a moral obligation to promote freedom of speech and expression.
Apple has been facing lots of criticism from Chinese citizens and some rights group who faulted the company for bowing to pressure from Beijing cyber regulators after the authorities removed several apps from its Chinese app store this year. Most of the apps that were removed are messaging apps and virtual private network (VPN) services as Chinese regulatory bodies do not want China’s Great Firewall to be subverted.
In his statement, Cook said “My hope over time is that some of the things, the couple of things that’s been pulled, come back. I have great hope on that and great optimism on that.” He further added that the company is always looking for ways to partner with the Chinese government even if he is criticized for it.
The app stores of both Apple and Google are responsible for raking in billions of dollars annually for the companies, with China one of their biggest markets due to the heavy reliant of users on their phones to help them carry out daily activities such as shopping groceries and others.
Even though Apple has lost ground in its third largest region, Cook stated that he is happy with the performance of their latest iPhone X. Apple’s smartphones are facing stiff competition from local rivals in China and other countries in Asia.
Cook while commenting on their biggest rival in the region Tencent Holdings, stated that he sees them as a great partner and has high regards for its, Pony Ma. This statement means that all is well between the two after they had spat earlier this year when Tencent launched mini programs on its WeChat app.