Apple CEO Returns To China
January 8, 2013

Apple CEO Tim Cook Makes Second Trip To China

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

For the second time in less than a year, Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook is visiting China, where he met with officials to discuss the development of the country´s technology industry and related issues, various new outlets reported on Tuesday.

According to Bloomberg News, Cook also spoke with Miao Wei, head of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology about the state of mobile communications across the globe, as well as the Cupertino, California-based iPad and iPhone manufacturer´s operations in Beijing.

“Cook was previously in China last March, when he visited a Foxconn factory that assembles iPhones. On that trip, he also met with Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang to discuss intellectual property issues, as well as potential cooperation with the Chinese government,” Sam Oliver of Apple Insider said.

“Last year, Cook's visit to China came as Apple was under fire for working conditions in its suppliers' factories“¦ [but] in the last 10 months since Cook's previous visit to China, the conversation has changed considerably,” he added. “Apple now offers monthly updates from audits of its suppliers, the company has pledged $100 million to produce an entire line of Macs in the U.S., and there has even been speculation that Apple has subsidized wage increases for workers at Foxconn.”

Other than his meeting with Miao, little is known about the reasons behind Cook´s current visit to Beijing, said CNET´s Don Reisinger. Likewise, the trip´s full itinerary remains unclear. What is known, Reisinger notes, is that during an earning call back in October, the Apple CEO called it an “extremely exciting market,” boasting that $5.7 billion of the $7.5 billion generated by the company in the Asia-Pacific region during that quarter came from China.

Since Cook´s March visit, the number of Apple stores in China and Hong Kong has increased from six to 11, Bloomberg reports. Among those five new outlets are locations in Chengdu and both the Hysan Place and Festival Bay in Hong Kong, Oliver added.

Word of Cook´s trip comes just one day after a delegation that included Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson, landed in North Korea. That journey, which has been criticized by some US State Department officials, is being described as a “private humanitarian mission,” and Richardson emphasizing that it is “not a Google trip.”