Apple opens 11th mainland store in Chongqing; iPhone sales jump
Last Updated: 2014-07-28 02:26 | Agencies-Global Times
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Apple opened a new store in Chongqing Municipality in Southwest China on Saturday, bringing the number of Apple stores in the Chinese mainland to 11.

Another store is expected to be opened this coming Saturday in Wuxi, East China's Jiangsu Province.

Apple CEO Tim Cook said last year that the company plans to open more than 25 stores in China in the future.

Although Apple declined to disclose future plans, its Chinese website lists job opportunities in Apple stores in 16 provinces and municipalities in China, including East China's Shandong, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Anhui provinces, as well as Southwest China's Guizhou Province. Among the listed locations, only Beijing, Shanghai, Chongqing, and Guangdong and Sichuan provinces currently have Apple stores.

The store opening followed news on July 21 that nearly half of China's population, or 632 million people, are Internet users, while mobile Internet users reached 527 million.

Apple's second-quarter iPhone sales in China jumped by 48 percent from the same period last year, reported on Tuesday. "China, honestly, was surprising to us," Cook said, adding that "the unit growth was really off the charts across the board."

Earlier this month, China's top three State-owned telecom operators - China Mobile, China Telecom, and China Unicom - announced that they will cut their marketing budgets, including contract subsidies, by a total of $6.4 billion in the next three years to secure profits.

An ABI Research report showed that the average subsidy from operators for Samsung handsets is 84 percent and the average iPhone subsidy is 70 percent, meaning most upfront costs for the two brands were covered by operators. In Beijing and Shanghai, telecom operators even paid to advertise these high-end gadgets.

Despite its popularity, Apple has long been challenged by claims that it could easily obtain the personal information of its users. The company acknowledged last week that personal data including text messages, contact lists and photos can be extracted from iPhones through previously unpublicized techniques by Apple employees, Reuters reported on Friday.

The same techniques to circumvent backup encryption could be used by law enforcement or others with access to the "trusted" computers to which the devices have been connected, according to a security expert who prompted Apple's admission.

In a conference presentation last week, researcher Jonathan Zdziarski showed how the services take a surprising amount of data for what Apple now says are diagnostic services meant to help engineers.

Users are not notified that the services are running and cannot disable them, Zdziarski said. There is no way for iPhone users to know what computers have previously been granted trusted status via the backup process or block future connections.

As word spread about Zdziarski's initial presentation at the Hackers on Planet Earth conference, some cited it as evidence of Apple collaboration with the US' National Security Agency.

Apple denied creating any "back doors" for intelligence agencies.

"We have designed iOS so that its diagnostic functions do not compromise user privacy and security, but still provides needed information to enterprise IT departments, developers and Apple for troubleshooting technical issues," Apple said. "A user must have unlocked their device and agreed to trust another computer before that computer is able to access this limited diagnostic data."

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