上周，苹果（Apple）CEO一直都在中国，并且已经与中国工业和信息化部（Ministry of Industry and Information Technology）部长苗圩进行了会面，就中国新兴的信息与通信行业交流了意见。这是库克在12个月内第二次访华。去年3月，蒂姆•库克参观了富士康（Foxconn）在郑州和天津的工厂，当时有报道称苹果的这家供应商违反了劳动法。
与中国移动（China Mobile）合作。全球最大的手机运营商却到现在都未能推出iPhone手机。据报道，中国移动与苹果已经进行了长达四年的谈判，却依然未能达成协议。据路透社（Reuters）报道，双方最初表示，最大的障碍在于技术问题，因为中国移动使用的是一种特殊3G技术，但现在，问题的关键却是利益分配。有分析师预测，今年晚些时候，随着中国移动开始铺设4G长期演进技术（LTE）网络，双方的谈判会有所进展。苹果承受不起放弃中国最大移动运营商的代价。而中国移动在3G市场已经落后于中国第二和第三大运营商——中国联通（China Unicom）和中国电信（China Telecom），因此它也需要iPhone手机来拉动销售。
提供廉价iPhone手机。本周早些时候，我们曾发表文章，讨论了苹果生产更廉价iPhone 的可能性，许多读者认为这不太可能。毕竟，苹果对自己的产品一直都是采取高定价政策。结果，随后《华尔街日报》（The Wall Street Journal）便确认，苹果正在尝试一款新手机：采用不同聚碳酸酯塑料外壳的iPhone。要想赚中国人的钱，这样一部手机非常关键，因为据估算，北京市普通中国人的年均收入仅有8,000美元，远远低于美国人的平均收入水平。当然，美国可能认为在海外推出更廉价的iPhone手机是在贬低一个高档品牌的价值，但鉴于中国的人均可支配收入水平，这仍然是一笔巨大的开支。
Could the second time be a charm for Tim Cook?
Apple's (AAPL) CEO is in China this week and has already met with Ministry of Industry and Information Technology head Miao Wei to discuss the country's emerging information and communications industry. For Cook, it was the second trip in 12 months. Last March, the chief executive toured Foxconn's facilities in Zhengzhou and Tianjin amid reports that the supplier had violated several labor laws.
Although Apple has not disclosed Cook's agenda for the trip, it's not farfetched to speculate that he's working on strengthening the company's relatively small presence in the country. This, despite the fact that China accounted for $5.7 billion in sales last quarter, a majority of the overall $7.5 billion it generated in the Asia-Pacific region that same time. (China is Apple's biggest market, second only to the U.S.)
Here are three things Cook must do to spur expansion there:
Open more Apple Stores.For a country with a population of over 1.3 billion, Apple's physical retail presence remains small. In fact, the company only has 7 stores -- 11 if you want to include Hong Kong. That makes for 1 store per 192 million people. In comparison, Apple Insider points out that the state of Pennsylvania has a total of 8 stores for a population of 12.7 million, or 1 store per 1.6 million people. Obviously, building out more retail locations would go a long way to raising the company's visibility there.
Saddle up with China Mobile.The world's largest mobile carrier still doesn't have the iPhone. China Mobile and Apple have reportedly been in talks for four years to come to an agreement, but haven't done so. According to Reuters, the two parties first said the biggest obstacle was a technical issue -- the Chinese carrier uses a unique 3G technology -- but now the sticking point is revenue-sharing. Some analysts predict that could change later this year when China Mobile rolls out its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network. Apple can't afford to not run on China's largest mobile carrier. And China Mobile, which is losing 3G market share to the nation's second and third-largest carriers -- China Unicom and China Telecom -- needs the iPhone to buoy sales.
Make a cheaper iPhone.When we ran a post earlier this week arguing the case for a new, cheaper iPhone, some readers balked. After all, Apple has always priced its products at a premium. Then The Wall Street Journal all-but-confirmed that the company was working on one: an iPhone with a different shell of polycarbonate plastic. To nab more Chinese dollars, such a device may be key, as the average Chinese makes significantly less -- $8,000 a year in Beijing, by some estimates -- when compared with the average American. Sure, a cheaper iPhone abroad could be perceived by the U.S. as downplaying a premium brand, but to many Chinese, it would still be a hefty chunk of their disposable income.