Apple CEO to visit China amid tensions: report

Apple CEO to visit China amid tensions: report
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Apple CEO Tim Cook is planning to visit China as the company faces new tensions there, Reuters reported Friday.

Cook will meet with government and Communist Party officials, the report said. An Apple spokesperson declined to comment.

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The visit comes as Apple finds itself at odds with the Chinese government, with which it has previously had warm relations. Last month, the government shut down the company’s iBooks store and its iTunes Movies product. Cook has said he is optimistic the two stores will be back online soon.

Apple has also refused to hand its source code to the Chinese government in the last two years, according to the company.

But Apple’s problems in China are part of a larger trend of tension between large American tech companies and the government there that has become pitched enough to attract the attention of President Obama.

China has in recent years looked to exert its power over the technology sector. In December, the country passed a new counterterrorism law that included a controversial provision requiring tech companies to help the government decrypt information. It does not require them to build vulnerabilities in their systems for the government to use when trying to access information or physically store their data in China, but both ideas had been had been floated.

Other regulations and antitrust investigations into some firms have also upset the tech industry.

The issue has become difficult enough that it attracted the White House’s attention last year. In an interview last March, President Obama said he had personally spoken to Chinese President Xi Jinping about Chinese laws that were worrying tech companies.

“We have made it very clear to them that this is something they are going to have to change if they are to do business with the United States,” he said.