Apple head reports ‘very open’ privacy talks with Chinese

Apple CEO Tim Cook says he had a “very open” and “impressive” conversation with a top Chinese leader this week, just days after reports that China may have launched cyberattacks on Apple to steal users’ information.

Cook told the official Xinhua news service that his meeting with Vice Premier Ma Kai touched on privacy and data security issues, but declined to go into further detail about the discussions.

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"China is a really key market for us," Cook told Xinhua. "Everything we do, we are going to work it here.”

The meeting was held on the tail end of Cook’s four-day visit to China, which also included a “lightning” quick visit to a Foxxconn factory in Zhengzhou City that produces iPhones.

Earlier this week, security analysts warned that hackers who may have been working for the Chinese government had been launching attacks on Apple’s iCloud storage system, in order to nab people’s passwords and steal their contacts, messages and pictures.

The report came out as Apple began rolling out its new iPhone 6 in China. The devices are automatically encrypted to prevent anyone except the user from gaining access to data on the phone. Since most iPhones automatically back up data to iCloud, however, the hackers used that connection to steal information.

The Chinese government has denied involvement.

In his interview with Xinhua, Cook also made a point of promoting the company’s new watch device and its payment system, Apple Pay.