Exclusive: Apple's Tim Cook to visit China for government meetings - source

Fri May 6, 2016 5:22am EDT
 
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By Matthew Miller

BEIJING (Reuters) - Apple Inc (AAPL.O: Quote) Chief Executive Tim Cook plans to visit Beijing later this month to meet high-level government officials, at a time when it is facing some setbacks in its most important overseas market, a source familiar with the matter said.

Cook has frequently traveled to China since taking the helm of Apple five years ago, but his latest visit comes during a critical period.

From weakening smartphone sales to the loss of an iPhone trademark dispute and the suspension of some of its online entertainment services, the U.S. technology giant has been facing a flurry of problems in recent weeks in its second-largest market after the United States.

That has raised concerns over Apple's growth momentum, as the company reported last week its first quarterly revenue drop in 13 years.

Last week, billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn said in an interview with cable television network CNBC that he had sold his entire stake in Apple, citing China's economic slowdown and worries about whether the government could make it very difficult for Apple to conduct business.

During his China visit, Cook plans to meet senior government and Communist Party leaders - including officials in charge of propaganda, said the source, who declined to be named as the plan is not public yet.

Apple did not respond to Reuters' requests for comments.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks about the Apple TV during an event at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California March 21, 2016.  REUTERS/Stephan Lam