Fact Check
Why is Tim Cook so welcomed in China?
By Lan Xinzhen  ·  2024-04-01  ·   Source: NO.14 APRIL 6, 2023

Apple Inc. opened a new flagship store in Jing'an District, Shanghai, on March 21, the largest of the company's retail stores in China and second only to its largest one in New York City. Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, was present on the day to open the store and usher in fans, who packed the street for hours and cheered for Cook's arrival.

Cook's visit to China is an indication of the importance Apple places on the Chinese market. The Chinese market matters so much to Apple not only because of its huge consumer base, but also thanks to China's key position in the global supply chain. During his visit, Cook emphasized the need for close cooperation between Apple and the Chinese supply chain, and Apple's long-term commitment to the Chinese market.

His visit is also a response to the Chinese Government's recent announcement that it will completely lift restrictions on foreign investment access in China's manufacturing sector in an effort to further attract foreign investment and promote economic globalization and regional integration. These measures aim to maintain a steady inflow of foreign investment by providing foreign-funded companies with a fairer, more transparent, and more predictable business environment. The enormous potential of the Chinese market and the Chinese Government's commitment to opening up have attracted numerous multinational companies, Apple included, to invest and expand business in China and share the dividends of its economic growth. According to data from the International Data Corp., Apple's iPhone ranked first among best-selling smartphone brands in the China in 2023, with a market share of 17.3 percent.

At a time when the global economy faces many challenges, China is trying hard to maintain economic globalization through measures that include staying committed to a higher level of opening up, attracting foreign investment and improving its own business environment.

In recent years, China has taken many steps to further open up to the outside world. These include the establishment of pilot free trade zones, the entry into force of the Foreign Investment Law, which aims to better protect foreign investors' interests, in 2020, the joint pursuit of the Belt and Road Initiative, and the launch of the annual China International Import Expo in Shanghai in 2018. Pilot free trade zones are designated areas where special economic policies and regulations are tested to promote trade liberalization, investment and economic development. To date, 22 such zones have been established across China. The Belt and Road Initiative, proposed in 2013, aims to boost connectivity along and beyond the ancient Silk Road routes.

These measures not only help with the high-quality development of the Chinese economy, but also have created new opportunities for global economic cooperation. High-quality development is characterized by innovation, coordination, greenness, openness and inclusiveness. The close ties between Apple and China, for example, epitomize specialization within the global economy.

As a firm advocate for economic globalization, China adheres to multilateralism, opposes trade protectionism, and contributes to the stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large. It is an active player in regional economic integration, as evidenced by its role in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the world's largest free trade agreement comprising 15 Asia-Pacific countries.

Cook's trip to Shanghai, as well as the warm welcome from Apple's Chinese fans, is a result of the deepening of China's opening up. China will continue to press ahead in pursuit of an open world economy while working with others to overcome challenges and share opportunities. 

Copyedited by G.P. Wilson

Comments to lanxinzhen@cicgamericas.com

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