Apple CEO Tim Cook recently praised China’s rapid innovation and its long-standing relationship with the American tech giant during his first public remarks in the country in recent years. Cook is currently in Beijing to attend the China Development Forum, a government-organized event that has returned in full force following the end of China’s COVID controls late last year. The event has drawn the attendance of senior government officials and CEOs from various corporations, including Pfizer and BHP.
According to The Paper news outlet, Cook stated, “Innovation is developing rapidly in China, and I believe it will further accelerate.” His visit comes at a time of heightened tension between Beijing and Washington, and as Apple has been actively seeking to reduce its supply chain reliance on China by shifting production to emerging centers such as India.
In 2022, production at the world’s largest iPhone factory, operated by Apple supplier Foxconn, was significantly disrupted due to China’s zero-COVID policies, which led to worker unrest. Nonetheless, Cook’s recent visit to an Apple Store in Beijing received widespread attention on Chinese social media.
During his speech at the China Development Forum, Cook also emphasized the importance of education and the necessity for young people to develop critical thinking skills and learn programming. As part of this commitment, he announced that Apple would increase its spending on rural education programs in China to 100 million yuan.
Despite the ongoing political and trade tensions between the U.S. and China, Cook’s remarks and Apple’s continued investment in the country highlight the resilience of the relationship between the two economic powerhouses. As China continues to accelerate its innovation and technological advancements, both countries may find new opportunities for collaboration and mutual benefit.