Apple CEO Tim Cook on why China remains ‘critical’ to the company’s plans

Despite making investments in various countries, including India, China has consistently remained crucial to Apple’s strategies. The recent visit of Apple CEO Tim Cook to Shanghai underscores the enduring significance of China for the tech giant.
Recent reports have suggested that iPhone’s sales have stumbled in China. Huawei has made a strong comeback in China and iPhone sales have been impacted.Cook reaffirmed Apple’s nearly 30-year commitment to the country. He emphasized China’s irreplaceable role in Apple’s supply chain, stating, “There’s no supply chain in the world that’s more critical to us.” In an interview with China Daily, Cook said that Apple’s relationship with China’s supply chain started 30 years ago. “We’ve been building up and investing more and more. Today’s factories are so much more modern. And in 10 years from now, we will keep advancing.”
On social media, Cook showcased a lighter side, sharing a stroll along the Bund with a Chinese celebrity. However, Cook did have meetings with key suppliers like BYD Electronics founder Wang Chuanfu and Lens Technology officials, which further solidifies Apple’s deep ties within China’s tech ecosystem.
According to an earlier report by Apple Insider, investment bank TD Cowen suggested Apple’s supply chain partners have spent close to $16 billion to move out of China. Apple has made moves outside of China as well. For example, India has emerged as a destination for assembly of iPhones. In Vietnam, production of iPad, MacBook and Apple Watch has gathered steam.
“We believe current capacity at Indian facilities can support annual output of 25 million units,” noted TD Cowen. “This supports local demand of 10M and potentially 20% of the 70M+ units in annual US iPhone demand (30% of global demand). ”
The report further said that its supply chain field work suggests “Vietnam has evolved into a major production hub for computers in recent years and small volumes of MacBooks, iPads, and the Apple Watch are already being manufactured there.”
Yet, as Cook said, China remains more critical than any other country for Apple’s supply chain operations.