While the Chinese media has been quiet about Apple CEO Tim Cook’s meeting with country officials, and instead focused on his visit to the Apple Store, which he arrived at in a Didi cab in the company of the Didi CEO, Reuters has today spotted a comment issued by the head of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology regarding his meeting with Cook.
As such, the rumoured meeting with government officials has been ultimately confirmed. While the regulator’s website doesn’t include comments from Tim Cook, it does stress China’s point of view when it comes to technology:
“I hope Apple can expand its business in China, deepen its cooperation in research and development and industrial supply chains, and provide a convenient and secure user experience for Chinese consumers,” said Miao Wei, the head of China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).
Apple CEO began a “charm offensive” in China earlier this week, following a flurry of problems the company has faced in the country: falling sales, the iPhone trademark dispute and the shutdown of some of its iTunes Movie and iBooks Store services.
“China has set a clear precedent with nearly every other tech company that operating in the country comes with certain strings attached, including significant investment in China’s tech sector,” said Ben Thompson, an analyst who writes at Stratechery.com. “Apple has largely escaped this requirement, thanks to its appeal to customers instead of big business, but it seems likely the Chinese government is trying to end that exemption.”
As such, Apple’s $1 billion investment in ride-sharing app Didi has been seen as an attempt to curry favour from Beijing.
Turns out, it isn’t just Apple using such strategy: Other tech firms such as Qualcomm and Cisco have adopted a similar approach of investing in China, as Beijing regulations seem to favour domestic firms.