Despite the fact that Apple already had a high dependence on its Chinese partners while he was still alive, then Apple CEO Steve Jobs never visited the native country of its biggest manufacturing partners.
Thus, it’s big news that current CEO Tim Cook has been spied in China, thus becoming the first sitting Apple CEO to make such a trip. It’s not Cook’s first such trip, as he was sent there at the behest of Jobs during times when the company had issues with China.
Proof that Cook was in the country came via images posted to China’s Weibo micro-blogging site (above). Weibo is a sort of hybrid of Twitter and Facebook.
Apple has neither officially announced or confirmed the trip, thus leaving uncertainty around the reasons for Cook’s trip.
For one, it’s possible that Apple’s dispute with ProView over the iPad trademark in China is one the table. Apple claims it purchased the rights to the trademark in China, which Proview disputes in a complex, lengthy, and drawn-out case that has been ongoing since 2010.
Cook could also be discussing a possible partnership with China’s largest wireless carrier, China Mobile. While the Cupertino, Calif. based company has had a relationship with No. 2 China Unicom for quite some time, and recently added China Telecom, it has never had a partnership with China Mobile, mostly because of the carrier’s TD-SCDMA 3G network. It’s believed that China Mobile will get the iPhone once it rolls out LTE.
It’s also possible that Cook will once again discuss issues with Foxconn, its biggest manufacturing partner. Information coming in over the weekend stated that a Foxconn facility in Shanxi Province in northern China has gone on strike over pay. The strike is taking place at a plant in the Xiaodian district of the provincial capital Taiyuan.
In addition, the FLA has not yet published its final results in its inspections of Apple’s Chinese manufacturing partners.