Tim Cook is set for a verbal shootout in China as he meets with high-ranking officials in Beijing later this month to discuss some critical issues Apple faces in the country.
The visit comes at a time when Apple is facing various problems in China, including the loss of its exclusive iPhone trademark, and the Chinese government’s decision to ban the company from operating its iBooks and iTunes Movies stores locally.
China is a key market for Apple, with Cook being outspoken in his belief that it will soon overtake the U.S. as the company’s biggest market, and admitting that new products are designed with the Chinese audience in mind.
However, the two recent knock-backs are only the latest in a series of anti-Apple events which have taken place as President Xi Jinping tries to move China away from relying on foreign technology over Chinese brands. Previously the government banned Apple products from official state-sanctioned purchases, while Apple has already reportedly refused to give the country complete access to its source code when asked to.
Cook visited China one year ago this month, suggesting that his new trip is not an emergency meeting of any sort. That week-long visit included stops at new Apple Stores across the country, a visit to an elementary school, and a meeting with China’s Vice Premier.
Is it fair to say that this month’s visit might wind up being a bit more stressful for Apple’s CEO? Despite Cook’s comments during the latest earnings call that China is “a lot more stable than what I think is the common view of it,” the smart money would surely be on “yes.”