Following several occasions that the media has roamed about poor labor practices at Foxconn, Apple’s assembly unit for its iPhone and iPad, Tim Cook takes charge of its responsibilities and goes to China to clear the air. It is Tim Cook’s first official trip outside the U.S. as Apple’s CEO.
Tim Cook’s agenda for his visit in China is quite busy. He is there to meet with government officials and check out Foxconn’s alleged poor labor practices. Media reports say that he has already visited Foxconn Technology in Zhengzhou and Reuters presented photos of Cook smiling while talking with the plant’s workers.
But Tim Cook’s visit in China has other reasons too. The new Apple CEO has yet to follow in the steps of genius Steve Jobs, but perhaps China is the opportunity needed to brand himself as the image of visionary and state of the art Silicon Valley based Apple.
For Apple, China is the Holy Grail. It is the world’s largest mobile market and Apple’s having a hard time conquering it, as his main rival Samsung Electronics has a better grip. Plus, the Chinese market didn’t exactly welcome in the new iPad nor its Siri iPhone with the enthusiasm the company was expecting. The numbers speak for themselves: in 2011’s last quarter Apple only managed to have 75 percent of the PC market and iPhone ranked as the fifth most sold smartphone.
Carolyn Wu, Foxconn spokeswoman, said that Tim Cook “is in China meeting with government officials. China is very important to us and we look forward to even greater investment and growth here”. However she refused to comment whether Cook is going to see the Vice Premier Li Keqiang or members of the National Development and Reform Commission as sources reported.
Also, industry sources say that Tim Cook’s other point in his hectic agenda is to meet up with Proview’s executives. Apple and Proview are engaged in a long time dispute over the iPad trademark’s local rights. Proview has sworn to stand by its bid as much as they can: “We are willing to fight the trademark case for five, 10 years or even longer. We’ll see how long the biggest company in the world can exploit the law and intellectual property rights in China”.