Apple Inc. Stock Takes a Hit Amid Chinese App Store Controversy

Tim Cook says he 'shares China's cyberspace vision' at an event promoting the country's internet censorship

His comments, however, drew criticism in the United States from Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who has previously condemned Apple for removing VPN apps from its China App Store.

Speaking at the Fortune Forum in the Chinese city of Guangzhou, Cook also said he believed strongly in freedoms, a comment seen by many as a response to a U.S. democratic senator's remarks on Tuesday that Apple had a moral obligation to promote free expression.

While this order is hardly surprising, it does at least make the annual event even a bit more ironic, particularly considering that the theme of this year's conference was "Developing digital economy for openness and shared benefits - building a community of common future in cyberspace".

Earlier this year, Apple said that developers had earned roughly $70 billion in total revenue through the store.

While China is home to the world's largest number of internet users, a 2015 report by United States think tank Freedom House found that the country had the most restrictive online use policies of 65 nations it studied, ranking below Iran and Syria.

Cook said he could not be happier with how the iPhone X was doing in China, Apple's third-largest region by sales although it has lost market share in recent years as handsets from local rivals gain traction.

Cook said that he strongly believes in freedom.

After AAPL removed several means of private communication from the Apple App Store in China, it received harsh criticism from speech rights groups.

The US tech giant said earlier it had moved its Chinese cloud data onto the servers of a local partner in the Chinese province of Guizhou.

The conference was also addressed by Apple CEO Tim Cook and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The tacit endorsement of the event by top US tech executives comes as China introduces strict new rules on censorship and data storage, causing headaches for foreign tech firms permitted to do business in China and signalling that restrictions banning others are unlikely to be lifted any time soon.

Others included Google chief executive Sundar Pichai, who is also attending the conference for the first time.

Of course, at the moment, China's internet community is unable to join a common present in cyberspace, blocked off from the rest of the world by mankind's most sophisticated censorship network.

According to the South China Morning Post, he said: 'A lot of work Google does is to help Chinese companies.

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