Apple’s Cook and BlackRock’s Fink among executive guests at Xi dinner

(Bloomberg) — American business titans including Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook and BlackRock Inc.’s Larry Fink will attend a dinner with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday as he tries to attract foreign capital to the world’s No. 2 country. largest economy.

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Blackstone Inc. CEO Steve Schwarzman and Visa Inc. CEO Ryan McInerney will also join them at the San Francisco evening, according to people briefed on the matter. Pfizer Inc. Chief Executive Albert Bourla previously confirmed that he would attend the event, while speaking on the sidelines of a summit that is part of this week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation leaders’ meetings.

Technology CEOs including Qualcomm Inc.’s Cristiano Amon and Broadcom Inc.’s Hock Tan are also on the guest list, said the people, who asked not to be identified sharing details of a private event.

Xi will have a chance to discuss China’s economy with some of the world’s most powerful foreign investors at the event, after a post-pandemic reopening that was expected to spur global growth failed to deliver results. The Chinese leader will attend the dinner after concluding an afternoon of talks with US President Joe Biden aimed at stabilizing a tumultuous bilateral relationship that also worries investors.

China is a major market for consumer electronics, accounting for about a fifth of Cupertino, California-based Apple’s sales. Qualcomm and Broadcom are among the world’s largest mobile phone chip makers, and their components are used in millions of phones sold in China. Representatives for Apple, Qualcomm and Broadcom declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.

China sees investment from international companies as key to improving its faltering economy and has stepped up efforts to attract foreign investors this year. His tightening of national security controls and his messages that foreign actors pose espionage risks, along with years of repressive policies, have left some skeptical of that message.

“The Chinese economy is clearly weakening. There’s no doubt about it,” said Derek Scissors, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. “But if you need to stay in China and are concerned about your position because of the behavior of the Chinese government, it is even more important to be able to talk to Xi.”

The details of the dinner have been closely followed. Its hosts, the National Committee on US-China Relations and the US-China Business Council, had been silent in recent days even on which Chinese leader would attend the event, as well as his location.

Shortly before the event, which was held at a San Francisco hotel where crowds gathered in support and protest against China, the official program was made available to attendees: Xi would address the dinner after a presentation by the CEO of Chubb Ltd. ., Evan Greenberg, committee chair.

According to the document, U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo would make comments beforehand, introduced by Council Chairman Marc Casper, CEO of Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.

Rep. Mike Gallagher, a Wisconsin Republican who chairs the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, claimed at an anti-CCP rally on Saturday that attendees were paying $40,000 to sit at Xi’s table. The Chinese leader is also expected to give a speech during the dinner.

A group of Xi’s “old friends” from Iowa were also invited to the dinner, Bloomberg previously reported. The group hosted Xi during a visit to the United States to learn about agricultural practices about 38 years ago, when he was a little-known Chinese Communist Party official.

–With help from Fran Wang, Gabrielle Coppola, Aisha Counts, Dawn Lim, Silla Brush, Mark Gurman and Ian King.

(Add details about the program starting in the ninth paragraph.)

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