Apple’s CEO Tim Cook is reportedly set to head to China later this week to meet with government officials, according to The Guardian.
Citing the ever-present but perpetually shy ‘sources’, the report suggests that the purpose of the trip to Beijing is essentially a damage control mission; Apple recently faced its first quarter of declining iPhone sales in several years.
Part of this drop in demand was a less than stellar performance in China, which is one of the company’s most important markets outside of the US. Part of the disappointing performance in China is a fall in desirability – quite simply, an iPhone isn’t the attraction it once was for a lot of buyers in the country.
Of course, making $10.5 billion in three months still isn’t bad going, but it’s telling that after underperforming in the quarter , Cook quickly started to promise vague things for the next-gen model, presumed to be the iPhone 7.
Add in a trip to China and it looks like Apple is in iPhone damage control mode.
How the company will balance its publicly stated intentions of resisting government intervention or access to data where possible against the notoriously restricted markets in China is yet to be made clear.
It’s by no means Cook’s first trip to China – it didn’t suddenly become an important market overnight – but the timing of this one seems more crucial than ever.
Just this week, a judge in China ruled that another company could continue to use the ‘IPHONE’ brand in the country and two weeks ago, the government ordered the shutdown of the iTunes Movie and Book store.