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【Bloomberg】Tim Cook Says Apple Not Aiming for Specific China Market Share

Tim Cook at the China Development Forum on March 18.Photographer: VCG/VCG via Getty Images

Apple Inc. doesn’t have a specific goal for market share in China, where it faces the fiercest local competition anywhere, Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook said.

China has unique characteristics, in that its mobile payment market is well ahead of the U.S. and local consumers have a greater willingness to change habits, Cook said at a panel discussion at the China Development Forum in Beijing. He added that Apple’s new research and development centers in the country should help the company reach China’s university community.

Cook’s comments come after Apple on Friday revealed plans to set up two more research centers, on top of two announced previously, and boost investment in China, Apple’s single largest overseas market.

Apple is facing a growing challenge from local smartphone brands Oppo and Huawei, which have been grabbing market share and squeezing Apple and Samsung Electronics Co. since Xiaomi Corp. came on the scene around 2011.

Including Vivo, Chinese vendors held the top three slots and accounted for 48 percent of shipments in the country during 2016, according to the estimates of research firm IDC. With a lineup of flexible- and curved-screen devices, they’re aiming to dominate the market in 2017. A decline in Apple shipments in the fourth quarter has highlighted how the iPhone 7 failed to make a big splash in China.

Cook said at the panel that China should open further to foreign investment, adding that globalization has lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty across the globe, even if the benefits have been uneven in many countries. He said that Apple’s innovation can drive job creation in China, and that app development for Apple already supports almost two million jobs in the country.

— With assistance by David Roman, and Peter Martin