Monday April 15, 2024

China woos foreign investors in meetings with Apple CEO, global executives

By News Desk
March 24, 2024
China’s Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao (right) shake hands with Tim Cook, CEO of Apple on March 22, 2024. — Facebook/中华人民共和国商务部 MOFCOM
China’s Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao (right) shake hands with Tim Cook, CEO of Apple on March 22, 2024. — Facebook/中华人民共和国商务部 MOFCOM

SHANGHAI: Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao has met top executives of global companies including Apple Inc and SK Hynix Inc ahead of a major business conference as Beijing woos foreign investors amid geopolitical and trade tensions.

In the meetings with Apple CEO Tim Cook, Hynix CEO Kwak Noh-Jung and other global chiefs on Friday and Saturday, Wang said China was committed to opening up its economy and offered growth opportunities for multinationals, according to ministry statements.

The meetings took place ahead of the China Development Forum, which will be held in Beijing on Sunday and Monday.

It is a high-level annual event where foreign business leaders can interact with senior Chinese government officials.

China, grappling with a slowing economy, is stepping up efforts to attract foreign companies amid heightened Sino-U.S. tensions and Western "de-risking" efforts to diversify supply chains away from China.

Foreign investment flows into China shrank nearly 20 percent in the January-February period from a year earlier, commerce ministry data showed on Friday.

Cook opened Apple's newest store in Shanghai on Thursday, as the phone maker battles falling iPhone sales in China and rising competition from domestic rivals such as Huawei. The smartphone maker is now facing a major antitrust action in the United States.

Wang told Cook that China-U.S. economic and trade cooperation is a stabilising force for bilateral relations and that China was willing to work with the United States to create a "fair, stable and predictable environment" for businesses, the ministry said.

In a separate meeting, Wang and CEO Kwak of semiconductor maker Hynix discussed supply chain cooperation between China and South Korea, the ministry said.

Wang said he hoped that Hynix can continue to invest in China, and share growth opportunities from the country's huge electronics consumer market.

The U.S. government has been pressing its allies including South Korea, the Netherlands and Japan to curb China's access to advanced semiconductor technology.

In a meeting with BNP Paribas chairman Jean Lemierre, Wang said China hoped to resolve Sino-Europe trade disputes through dialogue and cooperation, and that the French lender could play an active role in the process.

Trade disputes between China and Europe have been mounting over the past year. The European Union has launched an investigation into Chinese electric vehicle imports over state subsidies, while China has opened an anti-dumping investigation on brandy imported from the EU.

Wang also held a roundtable on Saturday with executives of global drugmakers including Bristol-Myers Squibb, GSK and Pfizer, the ministry said.