Reuters is reporting that Apple CEO Tim Cook will visit China later in May to meet with government officials and address current tensions between Apple and China, seen by many as the main driver of revenue growth for the company going forward.
Apple has faced some significant setbacks in China in the last few weeks. The company has had to stop selling iBooks and iTunes Movies in the region following new governmental policy that restricts online publishing. Apple also ceded exclusive rights to the iPhone trademark after losing a court case, although it plans to appeal.
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Reuters says some Chinese officials did not react well to Apple’s stance in the FBI iPhone unlock case which may have damaged relationships. Notable investor Carl Icahn pulled out of AAPL stock citing concerns about doing business in China. The Reuters report says Cook plans to meet top officials in government, although exact topics of conversation are unknown and nothing has been officially confirmed.
During his China visit, Cook plans to meet senior government and Communist Party leaders – including officials in charge of propaganda, said the source, who declined to be named as the plan is not public yet.
Cook has visited China numerous times since he took the CEO job often with direct business motivation, such as factory visits when Apple was under fire about poor Chinese labour practices and negotiations with Alibaba about Apple Pay. Given the recent tensions with China, the timing of this trip does not seem coincidental.