Amid trade war, Apple CEO heads to China

Amid trade war, Apple CEO heads to China
Tim Cook

By Mark Gurman

Leaders of Apple, Google, and other US technology giants head to China this weekend to pursue a familiar goal: To do more business in the world’s most populous nation.

The effort has had mixed results, at best, in the past. With a trade war brewing between the world’s two largest economies, the goal has gotten loftier still.

Tim Cook, chief executive, of Apple, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, and Ginny Rometty, head of IBM, are scheduled to attend the China Development Forum, an annual gathering that helps Western corporations build relationships with the country’s government officials.

Mr Cook is co-chairing the event this year, and Apple has the most at stake in China among US tech companies.

Its iPhones and other gadgets have sold well, but revenue from the region fell in Apple’s last fiscal year. 

The company has also been criticised recently for relocating the data of Chinese iCloud users to state-controlled server farms.

Last year, IBM announced a deal with Chinese company Wanda Group at the forum. 

The deal was meant to help IBM expand in the country’s cloud market, though it was reported recently that Wanda would stop working with the US firm.

Google pulled out of mainland China in 2010 over government censorship of its search results. The company has been trying to return in recent years but has made little progress. 

These hurdles will only get higher if a trade war erupts between the US and China.

This week, US President Donald Trump ordered 25% on at least $50bn (€40.5bn) of Chinese imports.

China responded with its own duties on some US imports. Apple could see a negative effect on about 15% of its business if China were to retaliate.

Steve Mollenkopf, Qualcomm’s CEO, will attend the conference but has cancelled his plan to speak.


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