Shanghai, China (4E) – Apple CEO Tim Cook said that he expects China to be the next biggest market for the technology giant, surpassing the U.S.
In an interview with state-run media Xinhua News Agency, Cook said he believes the world’s second largest economy will soon become its top market, although he offered no timeframe for the prediction.
In the third quarter of 2012, the Cupertino, Cal.-based company saw sales reach $5.7bn in China. According to the company’s earnings statement released on Oct. 25, the company’s revenue from the U.S. market was around $14.4bn.
Xinhua reported on Thursday that Cook is planning to launch new products in China, although he did not confirm if the company will sell a cheaper version of the iPhone, which is popular among Chinese consumers.
Cook, in his second visit to China in less than a year, met with the chairman of China Mobile Ltd. as he seeks to strengthen cooperation with the wireless operator. The Chinese carrier, which currently does not sell iPhones, has 707 million customers. Apple hopes to reverse its declining share of the smartphone market.
Meanwhile, Chinese online portal Sina reported that Cook plans to have at least 25 Apple retails stores in China but offered no details about the timeframe of the store openings. At the moment, Apple has 11 stores in the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong.