Sundar Pichai Makes Strong Case For Google's Return To China

China's President Xi Jinping speaks at the opening ceremony of the

Apple CEO Tim Cook arrives before the fourth World Internet Conference in Wuzhen, Zhejiang province, China, December 2, 2017.

Cook said that he strongly believes in freedom.

Cook also revealed that he "shares China's cyberspace vision" of 'developing a digital economy for openness and shared benefits'.

Other tech stocks, such as Alphabet's Google, Amazon, Facebook and Snap, were up on Wednesday.

Apple is facing criticism from local users and rights groups for bowing to pressure from Beijing after it chose to remove dozens of apps from its Chinese store, including messaging apps and virtual private network services, which help users subvert China's Great Firewall.

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FILE PHOTO: A attendee uses a new iPhone X during a presentation for the media in Beijing, China October 31, 2017.

When asked about Chinese government policies requiring removal of apps, including ones from operators of virtual private networks that can get around the country's internet filters, he said, "My hope over time is that some of these things, the couple things that have been pulled, come back".

Cook said he was happy with iPhone X sales in China, which is Apple's third-largest region by sales, although the smartphone continues to be edged out by competitors.

"We have been notified by the Ministry of Public Security that a number of voice over internet protocol apps do not comply with local law, therefore these apps have been removed from the App Store in China", an Apple spokeswoman said at the time, according to Reuters. Apple's China App store now accepts WeChat payments. "The version of cyberspace the Chinese government is building is a decidedly dystopian one, and I don't think anyone would want to share in this 'common future.' Apple should have spoken out against it, not endorsed it".

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