Apple's App Store is booming in China, says CEO

Olive Hawkins
December 6, 2017

CEO of Apple Inc., Time Cook stated that the company's China platform catered to at least 1.8 million users.

China is Apple's third-largest region by sales, but it has lost market share in recent years as consumers switch to local rivals. That said, Apple is fighting to maintain its ground in the highly competitive tech landscape in the Asian nation, especially as high-end mobile devices from domestic companies prove increasingly comparable (and perhaps more affordable).

Apple is showing signs of a comeback in China following six consecutive quarters of annual declines in iPhone shipments. iPhone shipments grew an estimated 40% YoY in Q3 2017 to reach 11 million units, up from 8 million in the year prior, according to estimates by Canalys.

While local developers may be faring quite well on Apple's platform, many foreign and American developers can not say the same.

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Apple's elevated numbers have come as a bit of a surprise to a number of analysts.

Apple is facing criticism from local users and rights groups for bowing to pressure from Beijing cyber regulators after it made a decision to remove hundreds of apps from its Chinese store this year, including messaging apps and virtual private network (VPN) services, which help users subvert China's Great Firewall.

Apple is optimistic that some of its popular apps that were removed from its China App Store this year to comply with government requests will be reinstated, Chief Executive Tim Cook said on Wednesday. "These apps remain available in all other markets where they do business".

The unpopular tax applied Apple's standard 30% revenue cut for in-app purchases to voluntary tipping from users - a practice that's popular in China. As Reuters notes, Cook has made several visits to the nation, and as even met with President Xi Jinping. "We are proud to have worked alongside many of our partners in China to help build a community that will join a common future in cyberspace".

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