Apple CEO hopeful banned apps will return to China store

HONG KONG (AP) — Apple's chief executive says he's optimistic some apps that fell afoul of China's tight internet laws will eventually be restored after being removed earlier this year.

Speaking at a business forum in China Wednesday, CEO Tim Cook also dismissed criticism of his appearance days earlier at an internet conference promoting Beijing's vison of a censored internet.

Cook's high-profile appearance Sunday at the government-organized World Internet Conference drew comments from activists and U.S. politicians who say Apple should do more to push back against Chinese internet restrictions.

He said he believed strongly in freedoms but also thought that foreign companies need to play by local rules where they operate.

When asked about policies requiring the apps to be removed, Cook said he has "great hope" some will return.