Apple CEO Tim Cook made a second visit to China this week and revealed in an interview with Chinese reporters that the cellular iPad mini version will launch in China by the end of January. The Wi-Fi only model was released in China on December 7, just a month after launching in the U.S.
The cellular version of the iPad mini was awarded its Chinese network licenses in December, so it was only a matter of time before it officially arrived in the country, which is quickly becoming one of Apple’s largest markets.
Cook said that Apple devices do take longer to arrive in China because of the time it takes for them to gain approval. He also confirmed that the company is trying to decrease those wait times.
While in China, Cook also said that China will eventually be Apple’s biggest market and the company will have more than 25 retail stores there. Right now there are eight stores on the mainland. The Greater China region, which includes Hong Kong and Taiwan, is Apple’s second largest market right now, having brought in about 15 percent of revenue in the last fiscal year.
Cook revealed having visited China many times before, with his first visit in 1996. He told reporters, “I love China because it is full of life, full of energy and it’s a quickly-changing market.”
While in China this week, Cook reportedly met with China Mobile chairman Xi Guohua to discuss a future deal for the iPhone. China Mobile is China’s largest mobile carrier and an iPhone deal would be huge for Apple. Cook also took the time to visit a sanctioned reseller and take pictures with fans and staff.
Image Credit: CapMac