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Apple CEO Tim Cook will be among numerous corporate leaders meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday during his first visit to the United States, amid concerns about a troubled Chinese economy and the possibility of a flashpoint over cybersecurity issues.
The meeting will be hosted in Seattle by the Paulson Institute, and include the heads of many other U.S. corporations. Among these are Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Berkshire Hathaway's Warren Buffett, Disney's Bob Iger, and Microsoft's Satya Nadella. Joining them will be executives from major Chinese businesses like Alibaba, Baidu, and Tencent.
President Xi is expected to delivery a policy speech, and the gathered business leaders will then participate in a roundtable to discuss economic ties, obstacles, and reforms.
The Chinese economy has been hard-hit in recent months, adding urgency to the gathering. The country is also at loggerheads with the U.S. over cybersecurity, particularly after U.S. President Barack Obama raised the possibility of sanctions. Chinese hackers are known to regularly infiltrate America's corporate and government networks. Some of the perpetrators are thought to be backed by the Chinese government, though Xi has denied this.
China has been worried about similar attacks on its home turf, and is further pressing foreign businesses to pledge compliance with a law that requires some local content to be "secure and controllable" — potentially forcing companies to hand over sensitive data.
Apple could have a conflicted stance going into the meeting. While Cook has been vocal about maintaing the security of Apple platforms, his company is also highly dependent on the Chinese market, which is second only to the Americas in terms of revenue.