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CNBC Exclusive: CNBC Transcript: Apple CEO Tim Cook and China Mobile Chairman XI Guohua Speak with CNBC's Eunice Yoon Today

Wednesday, 15 Jan 2014 | 12:39 PM ET

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook and China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua on CNBC today. Following is a link to the video on CNBC.com: http://video.cnbc.com/gallery/?video=3000236052.

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

TIM COOK: It's a watershed day for Apple, it's a huge announcement, I'm so honored to be doing business with Chairman Xi and China Mobile. They have the largest network, we're incredibly impressed with them we have deep respect for them and have had from the very first discussion that we've had together. We see this as bringing the world's best smartphone to the very largest and now the fastest network in China.

Last year we were able to work with the government authorities to be able to launch China at the same time that we launched every other country and the result of doing that, I'm pleased to tell you, although we haven't released our total results, we sold more iphone units last quarter in greater China than ever before and so we see that momentum and the announcement with China Mobile today is just being able to continue, continuing the momentum that we've really been building for the last 3 or 4 years or so in China. It is a very key market for us.

EUNICE YOON: Mr. Cook, I've seen ranges from between 10 million to 30 million in additional new iphones that could be sold because of this deal, just this year. What estimate sounds fair to you?

COOK: I, look, we play for the long term and I see this announcement today as being one of those very key milestones in doing great stuff over the long term for our customers and our shareholders and our employees and that's the way I look at it and so I'll let others predict the numbers.

YOON: How competitive is your pricing compared to your rivals like China Telecom and China Unicom?

XI GUOHUA: The deal is new, so our pricing is a bit more expensive than other competitors, but I still believe it is very attractive. You asked a very important question to Tim Cook on numbers, I cannot tell you completely of course, but since December 23rd, when people didn't know the pricing, we had millions of pre-orders. This is very encouraging.

YOON: Are you worried about how low cost handset manufacturers have been gaining ground. Is this a threat to Apple?

COOK: You know for us, for Apple it's always been about making the best products, not making the most and so we want people to have an incredible user experience with our products to empower them to do things they couldn't do before. This is what's important for us and if you look at last quarter, I saw these numbers just in the last few days, in the December quarter - and these are numbers coming from a third party - 57% of the mobile browsing traffic in China was on an ios device. And so I think you can see from this, regardless of what you might hear about unit, market share, our products are being used a lot more.

YOON: Mr Xi, will you now use an iphone?

XI: Good question, before China Mobile and Apple joined hands, I used the cell phone of another brand. Now I've decided to switch to an iPhone. I'm very thankful to Tim Cook that this morning he gave me one of the first iPhones made for China Mobile and it's gold, the most popular colour amongst youngsters.

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