Apple CEO becomes chairman of China university board

Tim Cook will work closely with Chinese government officials to promote Tsinghua University's economics and management school

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Apple CEO Tim Cook (Fortune photo)

Apple CEO Tim Cook (Fortune photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook is the new chairman of the Advisory Board of the School of Economics and Management (SEM) of Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.

According to Tsinghua University SEM’s public WeChat account, the 20th meeting of the advisory board was held at the Beijing campus on Oct. 18. The meeting was chaired by Cook, with 35 members in attendance.

Cook’s role will be to promote development of the college and make it a world-class economic management school. His mandate will last from 2019 to 2022.

The advisory board was established in 2000. It comprises entrepreneurs, business school deans, scholars, leaders of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), and financial departments.

The day before the advisory board meeting, Cook met with Xiao Ya-qing (肖亞慶), director of China’s State Administration for Market Regulation in Beijing. According to the bureau’s official website, "The two sides have conducted in-depth exchanges on expanding investment and business development in China, protecting consumer rights and fulfilling corporate social responsibility."

Apple actively operates within the Chinese market. Although Cook has met with high-level Chinese executive officials in recent years, many of Apple’s initiatives have been "looked down on" by China, according to CNA.

Apple was recently forced by the CCP to remove a crowdsourced map service from its App Store that allowed Hong Kong protesters to track police activity. Cook defended the removal in an email to employees and emphasized the app was removed for illegal use.

Earlier this month, the Taiwan flag emoji disappeared from Hong Kong and Macau iPhone users’ keyboards after a software update. At the same time, the U.S. online media Quartz, which was reporting on the Hong Kong protests, was removed from the Chinese version of the App Store.

News of Cook’s new role comes during trade war talks between the U.S. and China. According to Liberty Times, some netizens have remarked that Cook is “wasting his time trying to stabilize the Chinese market.”