April 13, 2024

Tim Cook speaking, holding a microphone, in front of a red backdrop that says China Development Forum

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaking at the China Development Forum (CDF) 2024, in Beijing, China March 24, 2024.
Photo: Jing Xu (Reuters)

Apple’s $3,499 mixed-reality headset will be available to purchase in China this year, Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly told Chinese state media.

Cook told media at the China Development Forum in Beijing the company will launch its Vision Pro headset in the country, according to a video from CCTV Finance on Chinese social media platform Weibo, CNBC and Reuters report.

Apple faces some competition in the virtual and augmented reality headset space in China, including from VR company Pico, which is owned by TikTok parent ByteDance.

After the Vision Pro launched in the U.S. in February, YouTube, Spotify, and Netflix said they would not create new apps for the headset. And just weeks after the headset was available to buy in the U.S., some users complained on social media that they were returning their headsets just before Apple’s 14-day return period expired.

Cook has spent days in China amid slumping iPhone sales in the country. The chief executive was in Shanghai last week for the opening of a new Apple Store in the city’s Jing’an district, and posted on his Weibo account he had met with local celebrities and visited the Apple Nanjing East Road retail store.

iPhone sales in China were down 24% year-over-year in the first six weeks of 2024, according to a report by Counterpoint Research. The declining sales were partly due to “abnormally high” iPhone sales during the same period the previous year driven by production issues in December 2022, analysts said.

Apple is also dealing with competition with China’s homegrown tech companies including Huawei, which saw a resurgence in smartphone sales after releasing a new series of them. The iPhone maker’s sales were also “getting squeezed in the middle on aggressive pricing from the likes of Oppo, Vivo, and Xiaomi” said Mengmeng Zhang, a senior analyst at Counterpoint Research, referring to other smartphone competitors in China.

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