SHANGHAI Jan 10 Apple Inc's Chief
Executive Tim Cook met with China Mobile's Chairman Xi
Guohua on Thursday to discuss "matters of cooperation," a China
Mobile spokesman said, raising hopes that a deal between the two
tech giants may move forward.
"In the morning, Apple's CEO Tim Cook visited China Mobile's
headquarters. China Mobile's Chairman Xi Guohua and Tim Cook
discussed matters of cooperation," said Li Jun, a China Mobile
spokesman, in an emailed statement.
No further details will be given due to a confidentiality
agreement signed, the statement said.
Apple, which has deals with China Unicom and China
Telecom to sell its iPhones in China, has yet to
strike a deal with China Mobile, the world's largest mobile
carrier by subscribers.
Inking a deal with China Mobile will give Apple access to a
massive subscriber base and help arrest the Cupertino firm's
sliding market share in the world's biggest smartphone market.
In an interview with local media on Thursday, Cook told
reporters that he is confident that China will become Apple's
largest market in the near future.
"Currently, Apple has 11 stores in the Greater China region,
as well as many resellers. We will continue to expand in China
and the number of retail stores we'll have will exceed 25," Cook
was quoted as saying by news portal Sina Technology News.
Cook is in Beijing meeting with government officials and
partners. On Tuesday, Cook met with China's minister for
industry and information technology and on Wednesday met with
high level executives from China Unicom.
The lack of a deal with China Mobile has hurt Apple's
fortunes lately, as Chinese users switch to other smartphone
brands from Samsung Electronics and Lenovo Group
Talks between Apple and China Mobile have been going on for
years and are stuck on revenue sharing terms, analysts said, so
it is tough to say if this meeting would break new ground.
China Mobile uses a different 3G network from the rest of
the world and some experts say Apple might wait for the new
network to be commercially viable before launching the iPhone
with the carrier.