Apple CEO Tim Cook made a surprise visit to Dubai over the weekend, delighting fans at the company’s Mall of the Emirates store.
He said the company will continue to grow its presence in the Middle East, opening more retail stores and also looking to help governments bring technology-based services into the modern age, Gulf News reported.
More Apple stores
“The last time I was here there were no stores,” Cook told Gulf News in an exclusive interview. “We’ve got our first one here now, and we have one in Abu Dhabi as you know. We’ll have more over time.”
Cook stopped off in Dubai following his first official visit to India. Fans of the brand and the man rushed to pose for selfies, and Cook thanked Dubai on Twitter later.
Speaking to Gulf News, Cook said revenue in the Middle East has grown substantially over the past eight years.
“In 2010, our revenue in the Middle East was $300-$400 million; last year it was $3 billion (around Dh11 billion),” Cook said. “We scaled up and we grew nicely in the first half of this year versus the first half of last year in the Middle East. So we’re growing step by step.”
Cook also said Dubai’s initiatives to promote smart services were ahead of those offered by many other governments.
“What I saw in [His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai] and the people around him is they want to be the most technologically modern government in the world, and they are far ahead of most. I left… thinking they’re doing a lot of things right in that regard.”
Shaikh Mohammad and Cook met in 2014 during the CEO’s first visit to the UAE.