“It feels to me that China is getting the coronavirus under control,” Cook said during the interview. “You look at the numbers, they’re coming down day by day by day. I’m very optimistic there.”
The new strain of coronavirus, called SARS-CoV-2, causes a pneumonia-like disease and was discovered in Wuhan, China, in December. It has now infected more than 82,000 people and caused more than 2,800 deaths around the world.
Apple said earlier this month that the virus has hurt demand from Chinese customers, as well as production capabilities in the country. The company assembles its phones in China and has suppliers in the Wuhan area.
“It will take some time, but by and large I think this is a temporary condition, not a long-term kind of thing,” Cook told Fox Business Network’s Susan Li.
Apple began temporarily closing its China stores in January when the virus started spreading to places like the US, Australia and Europe. It later reopened some stores with limited hours. The tech giant also temporarily closed its corporate offices and contact centers in China.
In the interview, Cook said Apple has reopened factories in China. “This is sort of the third phase of getting back to normal,” he said.
He also discussed, which he announced at the company’s annual shareholder meeting earlier this week. Cook said he sees India as a “huge opportunity” for Apple. An online store will launch in the country later this year.
Originally published Feb. 27.
Update, Feb. 28: Adds Cook’s comment on Apple’s current situation being a “temporary condition,” and information on Apple’s India store.