Tim Cook had 'very open' talks with top Chinese officials about online security and privacy after iCloud hack


Apple CEO Tim Cook, who visited the country after it was reported that the Chinese government orchestrated a cyberattack on iCloud users, discussed privacy and security issues with Chinese vice premier Ma Kai.

In an interview with state media outlet Xinhua News Agency, Cook called China a "key market" for his company. Not surprisingly, the thrust of Apple's strategy in the country lies with its new iPhone line. The iPhone 6 and the iPhone 6 Plus became available in the country on Oct. 17. The new smartphones were released through major carriers China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom.

The devices, which Apple calls "the biggest advancements in iPhone history," had a delayed release in the country because the company was required to obtain a network access license from the Ministry of Education and Information Technology before selling the smartphone.

In spite of this, early indications point to a successful launch for the iPhone 6 in the country. According to China Unicom, two hours after they started receiving online pre-orders, more than 600,000 units were already spoken for. This mirrored the international launch of the iPhone. The smartphone was announced on Sept. 9 and was sold starting Sept. 19. During the first 24 hours of availability for the Apple smartphone, the company received more than four million pre-orders.

The strong iPhone sales helped Apple set record sales for the smartphone line during the fiscal fourth quarter of 2014. During the period, which ended on Sept. 27, Apple sold 39.3 million iPhones. Out of the total, ten million were purchased within the first three days of release for the device. The sales of the device surpassed Wall Street's forecast. Analyst earlier predicted sales figures of 38 million units.

Aside from the iPhone 6, Cook is also bringing Apple Pay and Apple Watch to the country. "We want to bring Apple Pay to China... I'm convinced there will be enough people that want to use it. It's going to be successful," he said.

According to an earlier report, Apple will also expand its retail operations in the country. Cook told Chinese website Sina that his company would open 25 more stores over the next two years, bringing the total to 40 stores in the country.

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