Tim Cook meets with Chinese Vice Premier Li Keqiang

Apple CEO Tim Cook is in Beijing this week, marking the first time the newly-minted CEO has personally made the trek to China. While it was originally believed the visit would focus on carrier meetings, Cook has been actually meeting with key government officials to discuss economic development and intellectual property rights.

According to an official press release from Xinhua, China’s Vice Premier Li Keqiang have sat down to discuss ways to strengthen China’s economy and enhance its protection of intellectual property rights. In a promising move for increased outside collaboration with the United States, Li noted:

To be more open to the outside is a condition for China to transform its economic development, expand domestic demands and conduct technological innovation.

While the focus on innovation may be at the forefront, one of the biggest criticisms to come out of Apple’s Chinese operations of late is the treatment of Apple factory employees in manufacturing plants that produce Apple’s iPad, iPhone, and iPod devices. Apple has recognized the gravity of the issue, and is actively working to ensure better factory conditions for these workers, an issue Cook and Li discussed at this week’s meetings. Li is encouraging all international companies who do business in China to pay more attention to caring for workers at their facilities.

The Xinhua report failed to provide any more details on what may come out of the talks, but it’s encouraging to see the next-in-line for the Chinese Premier seat sign on to measures that promote intellectual property rights and worker safety.

[via Engadget, Xinhua (image also from Xinhua)]

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