Apple counts China as its third-largest region by sales, but has lost market share in recent years after it chose to remove hundreds of apps from its Chinese store under Beijing's cyber regulation rules.
Rival handsets have stolen market share from the iPhone in recent years, but Apple still counts China as its third largest region by sales thanks to its population of nearly 1.4bn people.
"The development of China's cyberspace is entering a fast lane ..."
Cook shared the data on Sunday during a speech at China's top public cyber policy forum, organised by the Cybersecurity Administration of China (CAC), which oversees internet regulation including censorship. The executive stated earlier this year that Apple has paid developers $70 billion globally for their share of app sales since the App Store opened in 2008. In the previous year or so, the Chinese Government has made new rules requiring firms to store Chinese users' data in the country and submit to all data surveillance measures.
The firm is hoping to regain momentum following the release of its iPhone 8 and iPhone X models which shipped in November.
Attending the fourth edition of the Chinese state-run "World Internet Conference" in Wuzhen, near Shanghai, Pichai said that many small and medium-sized businesses in China take advantage of Google to get their products to many other countries outside of China, the South China Morning Post reported.
The previous three conferences in 2014, 2015 and 2016 were not attended by such heavyweight U.S. tech executives as Cook or Pichai.
His comments were read out at China's fourth annual World Internet Conference, which leading figures from several U.S. tech giants attended, including Google chief executive Sundar Pichai for the first time.
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