Apple CEO Tim Cook plans to open an additional 25 retail stores in China within the next two years.
The Apple executive hopes to increase the number of stores from 15 to 35 within 24 months, according to an interview transcript posted on Sina.com. The company's future plans in the region were revealed during a visit by Cook to China, where the 53-year-old has been inspecting Apple facilities and has also met with China's Vice Premier Ma Kai.
According to the publication, Kai and Cook met Wednesday to discuss recent reports that pointed the finger at China in relation to an alleged attack on Apple's iCloud service. Activist group Great Fire claims that the Chinese government supported a cyberattack on Apple's iCloud.com, which used a man-in-the-middle (MITM) attack to disrupt secure connections between Chinese users and servers. Great Fire says that by disrupting the connection, data could potentially be intercepted, which in turn may give hackers access to the passwords, messages, photos and contacts of Chinese users.
In addition to the discussions, the Apple executive also visited a Foxconn plant in Zhengzhou, capital of China's Henan Province. The manufacturer, also known as Hon Hai, supplies Apple with components and assembles the iPhone. Cook has previously said that demand for the latest flagship smartphone, the iPhone 6, has outstripped supply — and so the visit may have been centered upon checking up on production progress.
Sina says that Foxconn's three workshops in Zhengzhou employ 300,000 workers and their output target is 120 million iPhones.