By Heather Clancy
September 22, 2015

 

Many matters cyber will be near the top of the discussion list when China President Xi Jinping arrives Tuesday in the United States for an eagerly anticipated state visit with President Barack Obama. It’s unlikely the two will see eye-to-eye after just a few hours together. That’s why a separate gathering with major tech companies including Apple, Facebook, and IBM (orchestrated by China’s Internet policy advisor Lu Wei and apparently co-hosted by Microsoft) is just as meaningful as the officially sponsored dialogue. Which is probably why President Obama apparently wasn’t too thrilled when he heard about it.

As Fortune‘s Scott Cendrowski notes in this pre-visit essay, the American tech industry is between a rock and a hard place, so it’s hard to fault them for accepting an invitation to talk. “These are the same U.S. companies who have complained of limited access in the Chinese market and proposed new government regulations that would require them to store data inside the country.”

The question is: How much will these leaders concede when it comes to intellectual property or data governance for a chance at the world’s largest Internet market?

There is definitely a lot riding on this visit. On a lighter note, since the Chinese entourage will spend some time in Seattle, do you think they’ll test out the updated Starbucks mobile app? They won’t even have to wait in line for their coffee, or tea.

 

 

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