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Apple CEO Cook Planning 25 More Stores in China by 2016

It's too soon to tell if Apple's desire to open more stores in China will help to foster a better relationship with the country.

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Apple in China

Apple recently gained permission from the Chinese government to sell its iPhone 6 devices, and now the company is looking to open 25 additional Apple retail stores in China over the next two years. Apple already has 15 stores in China but is looking to increase its sales in the world's most heavily populated nation, where an estimated 1.4 billion people live.

The announcement about the store openings was made by Apple CEO Tim Cook during a visit this week to China, according to a story by Reuters. The details came from a Chinese transcript of an interview posted by Sina.com, Reuters reported.

Cook had already voiced similar comments recently during Apple's fourth-quarter earnings call on Oct. 20, when he talked about the company's increasing investments there due to its huge potential user base.

Cook's comments in China came during a trip where he has toured Foxconn Technology's iPhone factory in Zhengzhou and visited some local retail businesses, according to Reuters. He has also met with China's Vice Minister Ma Kai to discuss topics such as user data privacy and increasing cooperation, the story reported.

"The Apple chief also said the company is cooperating with Chinese firms, including Baidu and Alibaba, according to today's online transcript," Reuters reported.

This is all very interesting, given that China is a huge market for all kinds of American companies, but at the same time is a secretive, politically incorrect and often confrontational nation due to its political history and organizational desires to control everything that happens there. It will be fascinating to see if the relationship between American companies such as Apple will continue to warm and grow in the next few years.

Could Apple's desire to open more stores in China help to foster a better relationship? It is too soon to tell, but it is an intriguing development that will now unfold.

At the end of September, Apple gained the approval of the Chinese government to begin selling iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones there after lots of scrutiny was placed on the security of the devices. The new iPhones went on sale in China on Oct. 17.

The phones are available in the nation's 15 existing Apple stores and through the country's three major cellular carriers—China Mobile, China Telecom and China Unicom.