updated 11:10 pm EDT, Wed March 28, 2012
Said to have won 'guarantee' on IP rights
Apple CEO Tim Cook continued his visit to China on Tuesday, winning a "guarantee" regarding intellectual property rights from the second-in-command of China's government during a meeting with Vice Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing. Cook has been meeting with Chinese officials and has visited at least one of the five official mainland Apple retail stores in China during his visit. By coincidence, Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg was spotted in Shanghai yesterday as well.
Li, who is often tipped to be the likely leader of the country next year, called for Apple and other international countries to expand more into China's western and central regions, reports ChinaDaily, and said the country was trying to ensure that both domestic and foreign companies were treated fairly under Intellectual Property laws. Cook is quoted as saying the company will work closely with China "and will operate in accordance with the law and in good faith."
The remark prompted allegations from Proview, with whom Apple is engaged in an important though protracted legal battle, that Cook's visit was just "political public relations campaign." No arrangements have been made for any Apple executives to meet with Proview during Cook's visit, according to Proview lawyers.
Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg, who is said to have learned Mandarin, was also in China, and he and his girlfriend were spotted visiting an Apple store in downtown Shanghai. Apple has three stores in the city, and two in Beijing some 750 miles away.
Both cities are located on the eastern coast of China, and Cook visited one of the Beijing stores in an unannounced stop yesterday. Beijing Mayor Guo Jinlong, one of the officials Cook met with earlier in his trip, said that residents in his city embrace Apple products and that he looks forward to further cooperation between Apple and Beijing.
Cook may be visiting to assure Chinese authorities that more Apple retail stores are headed for the country, and to forge stronger relationships with officials as well as manufacturing partners to aid Apple's efforts to improve working conditions for factory workers. Another possible item on Cook's list might be to talk with China Mobile officials to convince them to officially carry the iPhone (the carrier, China's largest, already unofficially supports some 15 million customers who have iPhones). [via ChinaDaily]