After Apple bowed to Beijing cyber regulator’s demands to remove dozens of apps from its Chinese store this year, CEO Tim Cook says he is optimistic that some of these will be reinstated. Messaging apps and virtual private network (VPN) services, which help users subvert China’s Great Firewall, were removed from the App Store this year.
At the Fortune Forum in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, Cook was reported as saying by Reuters, “My hope over time is that some of the things, the couple of things that’s been pulled, come back. I have great hope on that and great optimism on that.”
China is a very important market for Apple. The company has leaded the smartphone market of the country for sometime now, with it recently witnessing a little downward slope in its popularity. At the forum, Cook said that he couldn’t be happier with how the iPhone X is doing in China.
Further, at the event, Apple and Tencent Holdings, made somewhat of a peace with each other, after the two companies were in a soat earlier this year, after Tencent launched mini programs on its WeChat app, which created an ecosystem of apps within the app and threatened to become an operating system of its own. However, at the event, Cook said that Tencent was a great partner, and that he thinks very highly of its founder, Pony Ma.
The Apple China App Store is also starting to accept WeChat payments from late August. Tencent founder and chairman Ma, who spoke at the same forum immediately after Cook, said WeChat, with its mini-programs, could be the starting point to build a future where there are no more apps.
Many of the top games on Apple’s China App Store are made by Tencent, which creates value for both firms. Cook said Apple welcomes the WeChat ecosystem as it in fact lowers the cost for Android users to switch to the iPhone’s iOS system, which he said has around 15 percent of the smartphone market in China.