US & Canada

Chinese president Xi Jinping meets US tech leaders

Chinese President Xi Jinping (C), Microsoft's Harry Shum (L) and David Brown (R) take part in a demonstration of how Microsoft Surface technology can be used for data visualization during Xi's tour of Microsof's main campus in Redmond, Washington 23 September 2015 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Xi (centre) took part in a demonstration of Microsoft touch screen technology while touring the campus

Chinese President Xi Jinping has promised to strengthen protections on intellectual property and clear obstacles to investment in China, at a meeting with US technology leaders.

Speaking in Seattle he said: "Without reform, there will be no driving force; without opening up, there will be no progress."

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Apple CEO Tim Cook were among those attending.

US companies are eager to tap into China's massive market of consumers.

Mr Xi addressed recent China's recent economic troubles, and said the government was taking steps to address it.

However he said, "I believe in the long run that the fundamentals of the Chinese economy are good."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Xi and his wife, Peng Liyuan, visited Microsoft's campus on Wednesday accompanied by Microsoft chief executive Satya Nadella (in background)
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Xi shook hands with Apple chief executive Tim Cook

At the scene: Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC technology correspondent

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos (second from left) was among the business leaders in attendance

Oh to have been a fly on the wall when President Xi sat down with Apple's Tim Cook, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Satya Nadella of Microsoft and other US technology leaders. We are told the conversation covered regulation and clean energy - but surely there must have been something juicier?

The truth is that China and the tech giants both need and fear each other. The technology firms know it is where their future profits should come from - Apple now makes about a quarter of its revenue from China, while Amazon despite years of investment is still struggling to make an impact. For China, demand for American technology products is what keeps millions in manufacturing jobs.

But while both China and the US appear committed to expanding their technology relationship, their very different views on internet freedom mean progress will be difficult.

But at a time when demand for technology products is fragile, China still looks like a huge opportunity for growth. That is why the tech tycoons will have tried their best to charm their visitor.

Mr Xi stressed that reaching agreements to ensure continued robust international trade was a top priority.

US officials have said the two counties have made progress in negotiating a new trade agreement, but key issues remain unresolved.

Former US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson moderated a closed-door discussion with more than 30 business leaders before Mr Xi's public remarks.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Mr Xi met with Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg

Representatives from Twitter and Google were notably missing from the event. China blocks those companies' websites.

However, Mark Zuckerberg the chief executive of Facebook, which is also blocked in China, met with Mr Xi during the forum.

Mr Xi travels to Washington DC on Thursday to meet US President Barack Obama.

Xi Jinping's US visit

Image copyright Getty Images

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