Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has plans to fly to China at the end of May for several meetings with government officials. Although this is far from his first visit to the country, nor his first meeting with representatives of the ruling party, this one is critical as Apple has faced severe difficulties in the country as of late.
Apple has yet to confirm the visit, but Reuters sources “familiar with the matter” are confident it will take place. This is a very poignant time for one, too.
Although Apple is a dominant force the world over and is on and off its most valuable company, that doesn’t mean it holds quite the same sway in every market. China is Apple’s second-most profitable country, but it has seen smartphone sales drop for the first time in recent months, and the loss of a trademark filing there has put the iPhone brand in jeopardy.
Apple has also faced difficulties with the Chinese government shutting down its book and and film services, as it continues a push to control media availability within the country. This has gone hand in hand with the current president’s new drive to reduce a reliance on international technology firms.
Part of that move could be to limit the potential for foreign intelligence agencies to spy on Chinese citizens through hardware or software solutions.
These are no doubt issues that Cook will be discussing when he gets his special access to some of the most powerful people in China later this month. However, he may also talk over company’s unwillingness to weaken security on an iPhone for the FBI.
While that might not directly be related to China, the government and authorities there are looking to gain much more control over technology. Knowing that a company like Apple would refuse similar requests if it made them has purportedly made officials there rather nervous.
Do you think Tim Cook will bow to certain pressures from the government, or remain true to the values he’s championed in recent discussions of Apple’s run-in with the FBI?