Apple CEO Tim Cook Avoids Taiwan for Foxconn's 50th; COO Attends Instead

By Thea Felicity

Feb 20, 2024 02:08 PM EST

(Photo : Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 12: Apple CEO Tim Cook holds up a new iPhone 15 Pro during an Apple event on September 12, 2023 in Cupertino, California. Apple revealed its lineup of the latest iPhone 15 versions as well as other product upgrades during the event.

Apple's Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams made a rare landing in Taiwan to participate in the 50th anniversary celebrations of Foxconn, the company renowned for producing iPhones around the world. Alongside him is Sabih Khan, his deputy, as reported by Bloomberg.

The event marks a significant occasion, symbolizing the long-standing partnership between Apple and Foxconn. 

Williams, who last visited Taiwan seven years ago for TSMC's 30th anniversary, joined the gala in Taipei, highlighting the vital role of Taiwan in Apple's supply chain.

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Where is Apple CEO Tim Cook?

Now, the reason why the Apple COO and CEO's appearances at Tawain are rare is due to the political situation poses complexities for Apple.

Per 9to5mac, Taiwan's status has historically generated tensions, but recent indications suggest China may contemplate an invasion, a once improbable scenario.

"Early in 2022, we highlighted the risk, later supported by US and UK security services, signaling a genuine threat. China's maneuvers, notably a blockade rehearsal, fueled concerns of an imminent takeover."

This delicate balance prompts Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, to refrain from visits to Taiwan for over a decade. His last recorded trip dates back to 2008 for Foxconn founder Terry Gou's wedding.

Analysts suggest that recent military exercises by China reinforce the belief that reunification with Taiwan might only be possible through force.

Amid these geopolitical dynamics, Williams' visit signals Apple's commitment to its Taiwanese partners, even as concerns about China's intentions towards Taiwan loom large.

Besides Apple's senior vice president of operations, Sabih Khan, notable personalities were also present, Including SoftBank Group Corp. Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son and Arm Holdings Plc boss Rene Haas. 

Appearances were disclosed by individuals familiar with the event who preferred anonymity due to its private nature.

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