In a nod towards Apple's Chinese consumer base, CEO Tim Cook is paying a visit to Beijing. Earlier today, Chinese bloggers spotted Cook in Xidan, a Beijing commercial district. A spokeswoman for Apple confirmed that Cook was in China and "had great meetings with Chinese officials today," adding that "China is very important to us and we look forward to even greater investment and growth here." While she declined to elaborate on the meetings, it's possible Apple is trying to cement relationships with officials in order to defuse a trademark dispute brought by Chinese company Proview.
Previously, China Daily speculated Cook may be meeting with China Telecom CEO Wang Xiaochu or coming to discuss the Proview suit. China Telecom, however, said it was not aware of a visit, and China Unicom and China Mobile have not released any news. Proview and its lawyers, meanwhile, have said that they are also not meeting with Cook.
Cook has gone to China before on behalf of Apple, but this would his first trip as CEO — and the first time an Apple chief executive has visited the country. Last month, he emphasized the importance of China to Apple, saying that the Chinese smartphone market in particular would be "critical" in coming years. China Telecom recently became the second network in the country to offer the iPhone 4S, and rumors have suggested that the more popular China Mobile may be getting an iPhone as well.