With a single image of the historical Anshun Bridge in Chengdu, Sichuan, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced his second visit to China this year via Weibo.
On the 16th of October, Cook visited the Apple Store at Taikoo Li Chengdu and attended an exhibition match of the popular Chinese mobile game Honor of Kings. In an interview at the Taikoo Li Apple Store, Cook shared, ‘We already have a group of developers working out of Shanghai [for Vision Pro, Apple’s new mixed reality headset]. We’ve already seen some of the things coming out, and they’re going to be blown away. We’re so excited about it’.
The next day Cook visited a primary school in Ya’an Sichuan, where the students demonstrated creative uses of the iPad for education such as the programming of drones. Apple also announced a donation of 25 million RMB (3.42 million USD) to the China Foundation for Rural Development (CFRD) for schools and students in rural China.
On the third day (18th Oct), Cook visited the Zhejiang factory of Luxshare, a key supplier, where the Apple Watch and iPhone 15 Pro Max are being manufactured. Cook’s show of support for one of Apple’s major China-based manufacturers comes at a time when the company plans to move part of its production out of China.
Cook’s surprise visit coincides with the iPhone 15’s lacklustre performance at launch last month, selling 4.5% fewer units than the iPhone 14 in its first 17 days. At the same time, Apple faces fierce competition from homegrown brands such as Huawei, which just released its Mate 60 series of smartphones in August. Apple’s smartphone market share in China has dropped from 17% last year to 16%. However, with China representing 20% of Apple’s revenue and 48% of its supply chain, as well as one of only 2 regional markets that saw growth this quarter, the Chinese market remains paramount for Cook and Apple.