Apple CEO Tim Cook at the China Development Forum. (Photo: VCG)
Apple CEO Tim Cook took his new post as chairman of the advisory board of the Tsinghua University's business school amid substantial progress in China-US trade talks, which analysts believed shows China's openness and goodwill to US enterprises and entrepreneurs.
Cook took the baton and hosted the 20th meeting of the advisory board of the School of Economics and Management at Tsinghua University on Friday.
He will serve a three-year term from 2019 to 2022.
The advisory board, founded in 2000, is composed of world entrepreneurs, business school deans, prestigious scholars and Chinese officials.
Former Chinese premier and first dean of the business school Zhu Rongji serves as honorary chairman of the board.
Liu He, Chinese vice premier and Chinese trade talk representative, also sits on the board.
Citigroup CEO Michael L. Corbat, founder and CEO of Foxconn Technology Group Terry Gou, chairman, CEO and co-founder of Blackstone Stephen A. Schwarzman are also on the board.
"This is also good news amid substantial progress in trade negotiations. His new post shows Apple is willing to maintain and develop its ties with the Chinese market via such a hybrid platform, and the Chinese side issued the goodwill," Song Guoyou, director of Fudan University's Center for Economic Diplomacy in Shanghai, told the Global Times on Sunday.
The move shows China's openness to US companies and business leaders despite the trade frictions and prolonged negotiations caused by the back and forth of the US, Song said.
Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation in Beijing, noted that although Cook's new post was announced amid the trade talks, the two things have no direct connection.
However, it still represented one aspect of cooperation in warming and stable bilateral relations, Bai told the Global Times on Sunday.
Apple, a US tech giant with a large presence in the Chinese market, suffered in the US-initiated trade frictions from its close ties with Chinese companies in the supply chain.
Apple was turned down by the US government over its request to waive import tariffs for 15 components made in China, CNBC reported in July.
Ten were approved for exemption in September when the company said it was keeping assembly operations in Texas, CNBC reported.
Apple's sales in China also plummeted which Cook attributed partially to the trade war.
Amid the progress in trade talks, the two countries have more potential to cooperate as long as the frictions can be properly handled, Bai said.
Cook became a board advisor in 2013 and met with top Chinese leaders during an annual gathering in 2017.
"We also hope China's openness to Apple leads to two-way hospitality" when comparing the situations of Apple in China with Chinese telecom firm Huawei in the US, Bai said.
Huawei in August saw another 46 affiliates added to the Entity List by the US government despite a temporary license allowing certain US companies to continue supplying it for another 90 days.