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Apple chief shrugs off China's economic slowdown

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US technology giant Apple will continue to invest in China despite slowing growth in the world's second-largest economy, chief executive Tim Cook told state media, as the company prepares to open its newest store in the mainland.

[SHANGHAI] US technology giant Apple will continue to invest in China despite slowing growth in the world's second-largest economy, chief executive Tim Cook told state media, as the company prepares to open its newest store in the mainland.

"I know some people are worried about the economy. We'll continue to invest," Mr Cook told the official Xinhua news agency, according to a report late Wednesday.

"China is a superb place to be. Nothing has changed that," Cook said while on a visit to the country.

China's economy logged its worst performance since the global financial crisis in the third quarter with gross domestic product growing just 6.9 per cent - its slowest rate in six years, the government said on Monday.

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Mr Cook has previously said that he expects China one day to surpass the United States to become Apple's largest market.

The launch of the company's large-screen iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus last year boosted its sales in China, though it faces sharp competition from domestic competitors such as Xiaomi and Huawei.

On his Chinese Sina Weibo - or microblog - account, Mr Cook on Wednesday posted a photo of himself climbing the Great Wall and said he was "Happy to be back" in China.

The US company will open its 21st mainland China store in the northeastern city of Dalian on Saturday, according to its website.

Apple has in the past been criticised for having only a limited number of stores in China despite demand for its products, which encourages smuggling, especially from neighbouring Hong Kong.

Apple is due to report quarterly earnings next week.

It recently began offering Apple Music and other digital content in the world's most populous country and is reportedly planning to launch online payment service Apple Pay.

Last month, it came to light that hackers had infiltrated the Apple ecosystem by injecting malicious software into popular Chinese mobile apps including popular instant messaging service WeChat.

Apple said it had removed the tainted applications.

AFP

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