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Apple CEO hopeful banned apps will return to China store

06 December 2017

These include notions such as respecting cyber sovereignty, and each country's "right to choose its own Internet development path, Internet governance and Internet policies", which in China's case means censorship of content deemed unsavoury and blocking of foreign websites.

Bloomberg reported that World Internet Conference, a gathering which the Chinese government uses to promote its strategy of tight controls online, CEO Cook presented a surprise keynote address at the opening ceremony on Sunday.

"A lot of work Google does is to help Chinese companies", the 45-year-old Google CEO, who has a BTech degree from IIT Kharagpur, said at a state-run global internet conference at the Chinese city of Wuzen.

The Apple CEO also touched on the need for humanity in an increasingly digital age.

Numerous top games on Apple's China App Store are made by Tencent, which creates value for both firms. Google and its products can be accessed in China through Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) over which Beijing has stepped up a crackdown in recent times.

Apple is facing criticism from local users and rights groups for bowing to pressure from Beijing cyber regulators after it chose to remove dozens of apps from its Chinese store this year, including messaging apps and virtual private network (VPN) services, which help users subvert China's Great Firewall.

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Skype, the calling app, was removed from its mainland App Store this autumn.

Google and Facebook are banned in China, along with Twitter Inc and most major western news outlets.

Cook's high-profile appearance Sunday at the government-organized World Internet Conference drew comments from activists and USA politicians who say Apple should do more to push back against Chinese internet restrictions.

Cook went on to tout that Apple helps support over 5 million jobs in China, 1.8 million of which are local app developers.

Cook is a frequent visitor to China and was last in the country five weeks ago.

Cook said Apple welcomes the WeChat ecosystem as it in fact lowers the cost for Android users to switch to the iPhone's iOS system, which he said has around 15 percent of the smartphone market in China. Xi said that online developments were raising many new challenges to sovereignty and security, and China was "willing to work with the global community to respect cyberspace sovereignty and promote partnerships".