The world’s largest iPhone factory, located in China and run by Foxconn, suffered disruptions in 2022. That will likely filter through to Apple’s December quarterly results. Meanwhile, analysts questioned demand for the iPhone 14 from Chinese consumers.

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Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook on Saturday used his first public comments during his visit to China to praise the country for its rapid innovation and its long ties with the US iPhone maker, according to local media.

Cook is in Beijing to attend the China Development Forum, a government-organized event that is being held again in full force after the country ended its Covid controls late last year.

In addition to Cook, the event is attended by senior government officials as well as CEOs of companies such as Pfizer and BHP.

“Innovation is developing rapidly in China and I think it will accelerate further,” Cook was quoted as saying by The Paper news agency.

His visit comes at a time of rising tensions between Beijing and Washington and as Apple has sought to reduce its reliance on its supply chain in China and shift production to new and upcoming centers such as India.

Last year, production at the world’s largest iPhone factory run by Apple supplier Foxconn was severely disrupted after China’s zero-Covid policy fueled labor unrest.

Cook also visited an Apple Store in Beijing on Friday, photos of which went viral on Chinese social media.

During his speech, Cook also discussed education and the need for young people to learn programming critical thinking, and announced that Apple plans to increase spending on its rural education program to 100 million yuan, local media reported.