During the China Development Forum on March 25, Apple CEO Tim Cook commended China for its rapid advancements in innovation and its longstanding relationship with Apple.
“Innovation is developing rapidly in China and I believe it will further accelerate. The current pace of global innovation in artificial intelligence is incredibly fast and these advancements are expected to greatly impact humanity. As creators of these technologies, it is our responsibility to ensure that people use them appropriately in order for technology to truly serve mankind,” said Cook.
“We believe that it is very important for young people to learn programming skills and know the possibilities that come with them, even if they don’t aspire to be programmers,” Cook added, “Apple is advocating for the addition of programming education in schools as the basic ability to code will enable students to keep pace with the rapidly evolving world of innovation.”
To this end, Apple announced a contribution to the China Development Research Foundation of 100 million yuan ($14 million) aimed at creating growth opportunities for teachers and students across China. Of this donation, 50 million yuan ($7 million) will fund the three-year “Smart Gardener” project that focuses on digital education in underdeveloped regions of China, affecting more than 120,000 teachers and over two million students.
Cook’s previous visit to China was on October 17, 2019. During this trip, he expressed his delight in returning to China and stated that he always feels rewarded every time he visits the country. This year marks the 30th year of Apple’s presence in the Chinese market, and Cook mentioned that his personal connection with China can be traced back to even before he joined Apple.
On the afternoon of March 24, Cook paid a visit to Apple’s first retail store in China, which subsequently generated buzz on Chinese social media. In 2020, Cook mentioned that this store holds a special place in Apple’s history as it was the company’s first retail store to open in China 12 years ago.
As of the end of 2022, Cook had visited China at least 20 times, with his first visit dating back to 1996. In March 2012, Cook made his first official visit to China as Apple CEO.
According to a senior industrial economic observer quoted by Beijing Business Today, Apple has enjoyed a warm reception since entering the Chinese market, with booming sales over the past decade. One of the key reasons for this success is Apple’s ability to meet the needs of different types of users. However, it is evident that Apple’s innovation in China is not as strong as it once was, with the rise of competition from Chinese mobile phone manufacturers. Additionally, Apple’s official pricing strategy is rigid and the company exerts strong control over its sales channels, making it challenging to adapt to the e-commerce landscape in China.