Apple CEO Tim Cook is apparently visiting China today for the second time since replacing Steve Jobs as chief executive in 2011.
According to a statement on the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology website, Cook met with Head of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology Miao Wei to “exchange views on the development of China’s information and communications industry, global mobile communications, the development of smart devices and trends in innovation.”
The Wall Street Journal noted Cook could have visited to closely examine manufacturing practices, sales, and even the number of stores in China:
While the purpose behind Mr. Cook isn’t clear, he should find no shortage of things to talk about. Mr. Cook’s visit comes amid greater scrutiny of Apple’s manufacturing practices in China and as China becomes Apple’s No. 2 market for sales. Apple opened three additional retail stores in mainland China last year, bringing its total number of stores in China to eight.
Cook last visited China in March 2012 to tour a Foxconn factory that assembled iPhones, but the CEO mostly visited in response to The New York Times’ iEconomy stories. He specifically met with Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang to talk intellectual property and the country’s government.
In an unofficial tweet posted by Beijing U.S Embassy Chief of Staff Jim Sciutto this morning, Sciutto claimed Cook, who was allegedly speaking with China’s U.S Ambassador, Gary Locke, at the time, referred to Apple’s retail stores as the “busiest in the world.”
Amb. Locke just met with Apple's Tim Cook, who says Apple stores in China are their 'busiest in the world'—
jim sciutto (@jimsciuttoChina) January 08, 2013