Apple, Google at China Internet fest shows lure of market

Joanna Estrada
December 6, 2017

The unpopular tax applied Apple's standard 30% revenue cut for in-app purchases to voluntary tipping from users - a practice that's popular in China.

China confirms that its digital economy accounts for almost a third of gross domestic product, according to a report unveiled in the eastern city of Wuzhen during the fourth World Internet Conference where it declared that Chinese cyberspace is "open" - but subject to controls for the greater good.

While China is home to the world's largest number of internet users, a 2015 report by USA think tank Freedom House found that the country had the most restrictive online use policies of 65 nations it studied, ranking below Iran and Syria.

China is the company's third-largest region by sales, though recently it has lost some market share to high-end handsets from local rivals.

"The theme of this conference - developing a digital economy for openness and shared benefits - is a vision we at Apple share", Cook said, as reported by Bloomberg.

Despite criticism, Apple Inc.'s Tim Cook and Google's Sundar Pichai took part in the conference this year, demonstrating the huge scale of the digital market in China. And two months ago, Apple announced the removal of several virtual private network (VPN) services from its App Store in China, after the Chinese government had been pressuring the firm to ban all VPNs - which allow users to bypass China's heavily regulated internet - that aren't approved by state regulators.

However, the company hopes it can regain back some momentum after the release of its iPhone 8 and iPhone X models which shipped in November, according to Reuters.

The U.S. tech giant said earlier it had moved its Chinese cloud data onto the servers of a local partner in the Chinese province of Guizhou.

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook and Cisco Systems CEO Chuck Robbins also attended the event.

Others included Google chief executive Sundar Pichai, who is also attending the conference for the first time.

Numerous top games on Apple's China App Store are made by Tencent, which creates value for both firms.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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