Apple CEO meets Chinese vice premier as Foxconn workers complain of too many days off

tim-cookApple CEO Tim Cook, currently on a visit to China, has reportedly met the man widely tipped to be the country’s next leader, vice premier Li Keqiang.

Though declining to give details of the enconter, Beijing-based Apple spokesperson Carolyn Wu told Bloomberg that Cook and Li had had a “great meeting” on Tuesday.

The Asian country is of huge importance to Apple. Not only is it home to the world’s biggest mobile market, but it is also the company’s fastest growing market and second most lucrative region.

“Tim is in China meeting with government officials,” Wu said. “China is very important to us and we look forward to even greater investment and growth there.”

Earlier in the week Cook met with Beijing’s mayor and visited one of the city’s two Apple stores.

As with all things Apple, little has been revealed regarding the precise nature of Cook’s China visit — his first since taking over as CEO of the company from Steve Jobs in August last year — though no doubt he’ll be dealing with various issues currently facing the Cupertino company in the Asian country.

These include the ongoing trademark dispute with Chinese tech firm Proview over use of the iPad name in China, as well as problems with working conditions at some of its third-party manufacturing plants in the country.

On the subject of working conditions, a report emerged today that some Foxconn employees working on the iPad line have been voicing complaints over an issue which will surprise many — they’re being given too much time off.

According to China Business News (via Tech in Asia), a number of workers have already been given 10 days off this month alone. One worker says he usually does a six-day week and so the excessive number of non-working days is making an unwelcome dent in his monthly pay packet.

Tech in Asia’s report speculates that it could reflect less-than-impressive demand for the new iPad, despite Apple announcing healthy sales over its opening weekend a couple of weeks ago.

Apple’s new iteration of its tablet, which hasn’t yet officially gone on sale in China (and may not unless it resolves its trademark dispute), has been selling poorly on the gray market there, according to scalpers operating in Shenzhen, which sells various Apple products brought over from nearby Hong Kong. Whether this reflects demand on a wider scale, however, is impossible to say.

The exact reason for the cut in working days that some Foxconn workers are experiencing isn’t immediately known — perhaps the company already has those robots up and running. Either way, it could be that more details will emerge in the coming days.

[Source: SMH, Bloomberg]

Get our Top Stories delivered to your inbox: