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Apple designs and sells consumer electronics, computer software, and personal computers and also operates retail stores. Its best-known hardware products are the Macintosh line of computers, the iPod, the iPad and the iPhone – Apple is the world’s third largest mobile phone-maker after Samsung and Nokia. 

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Apple chief meets China Mobile chairman

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 01 August, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 01 August, 2013, 5:46am
 

Apple chief executive Tim Cook met China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua on Tuesday, in what is seen as a significant step for the technology giant to boost iPhone sales in China.

China Mobile, the world's largest mobile carrier by subscribers, is the only one of the mainland's three carriers that does not offer iPhones to its subscribers. It had 740 million subscribers in the first half of this year.

Last week Apple said its sales for the quarter to June on the mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong had slumped 43 per cent from the January-March quarter. Greater China accounted for 13 per cent of Apple's sales in the latest quarter, compared with nearly 19 per cent in the previous quarter.

China Mobile gave no details of the meeting due to a "confidentiality agreement with Apple". Cook also met the bosses of the other two telecommunications operators, China Telecom and China Unicom.

Huang Meng, an analyst at research firm Analysts International, said one important reason for Cook's China visit was to push sales through co-operation with the carriers. "China is a market crucial for the future growth of any international enterprise," he said.

Apple recently has had a series of problems on the mainland. It came under fire for its after-sales service in March, prompting an apology to customers and an agreement to extend product warranties.

Huang blamed Apple's disappointing performance in the last quarter on a lack of creativity. "Since iPhone4, Apple has not launched any blockbuster product that can lift sales," he said.

He said that while Apple and China Mobile had been talking for years - Cook's meeting with Xi is the second this year - the chances of China Mobile offering iPhones to subscribers in the near future were slim. Currently, iPhones cannot be used on China Mobile's third-generation network, known as TD-SCDMA.

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