Chinese president, U.S. tech companies seek common ground

September 24, 2015, 2:39 PM UTC
Photo by Brian Smale, Microsoft

China wants to work with the U.S. to address concerns about intellectual property rights and access to its huge domestic markets, Chinese president Xi Jinpinq told a convocation of U.S. tech titans in Seattle on Wednesday.

Xi said it is natural to experience “frictions and differences” in the course of business, but “problems are always outnumbered by solutions.”

CEOs attending the event included Apple’s (APPL) Tim Cook, Amazon’s (AMZN) Jeff Bezos, IBM’s (IBM) Ginni Rometty, Facebook’s (FB) Mark Zuckerberg and host company Microsoft’s (MSFT) Satya Nadella. Representing Chinese companies were Alibaba (BABA) CEO Jack Ma and Tencent CEO Pony Ma.

Conspicuously absent was Google’s (GOOG) Sundar Pichai. Google took its Internet search business and left China five years ago, citing concerns over consumer privacy.

Meanwhile, U.S. cloud companies (minus Google) are busily building out capability in China. Microsoft, partnering with Chinese company 21Vianet rolled out Azure in China starting last year. Amazon Web Services has also set up shop in China

This event kicked off Xi’s first official state visit to the U.S. On Thursday he will be in Washington D.C. for a scheduled White House working dinner with President Barack Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and National Security Advisor Susan Rice. On Friday, the two presidents will hold a joint press conference.

Earlier this month, The New York Times reported that the Chinese government pushed for the Seattle visit in advance of the official Washington D.C. meetings to illustrate China’s own influence over U.S. tech companies. That could be a response to warnings that the U.S. might impose sanctions on Chinese companies over suspected Chinese hacking of U.S. companies and agencies.

For more on U.S.-China stance on cybersecurity, see the video below:


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