HomeBusinessApple’s Tim Cook spent $40K to have dinner with Xi Jinping
Apple’s Tim Cook spent $40K to have dinner with Xi Jinping
November 16, 2023
Xi Jinping is in San Francisco this week, and five deep-pocketed US business moguls reportedly spent $40,000 each to dine at the same table as the Chinese president.
Following an afternoon of talks with President Biden on topics reportedly including climate change, counter-narcotics and artificial intelligence on Wednesday, Xi headed to dinner at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Downtown San Francisco, according to The New York Times.
Among those who attended the reception — which included a three-course meal and whose tickets cost $2,000 — was Elon Musk, according to the report.
However, for those who wished to have one of the eight seats at Xi’s table, they’d have to cough up a whopping $40,000, The NY Times reported, citing people familiar with the event.
Business titans who scored a ticket included Apple CEO Tim Cook, Blackstone boss Steve Schwarzman and BlackRock’s billionaire chief executive Larry Fink, according to CNBC.
Cook reportedly sat next to Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao — perhaps a strategic placement given that the China accounts for roughly one-fifth of Apple’s consumer electronics sales.
Citadel Securities CEO Peng Zhao also nabbed a pricey seat, as well as Bridgewater Associates’ sharp-elbowed, billionaire founder, Ray Dalio.
Government officials including Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and the US ambassador to China filled the other two seats, CNBC reported.
The dinner consisted of an autumn vegetable salad starter, a choice of steak or vegetable curry as an entrée and a fresh fruit tart for dessert, according to a photo of the menu shared to X.
Guests could also choose between two wines, per the X post: Cakebread Cellars Sauvignon Blanc or Frank Family Carneros Pinot Noir, , which retail for $30 and $40, respectively — surprisingly affordable bottles given the meal’s costly price tag.
Other CEOs at the reception, which took place on the final day of the annual two-day meeting of 21 Pacific nations, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit: Salesforce’s Marc Benioff, Boeing’s Stan Deal and FedEx’s Raj Subramaniam, according to CNBC.
Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chairman and chief executive and Mastercard chair Merit Janow were also in attendance, CNBC reported.
Tech titans including Qualcomm’s Cristiano Amon and Broadcom’s Hock Tan were also on the guest list, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.
China is a major market for both of these California-based semiconductor manufacturing companies, which are among the world’s largest makers of mobile-phone chips used in millions of devices across China.
Xi delivered a keynote address ahead of the dinner and asked the decades-old question: “Are we adversaries or partners?”
“If one sees the other side as a primary competitor, the most consequential geopolitical challenge, and a pacing threat, it will only lead to misinformed policymaking, misguided actions and unwanted results,” Xi added, reusing terms Biden once used to describe China, per CNBC.
The 70-year-old Communist Party leader said that he wants a “win-win” relationship with the US, and will start by sending more pandas to the San Diego Zoo just one week after three giant pandas journeyed from China to Washington’s Smithsonian National Zoo.
“Pandas have long been envoys of friendship between the Chinese and American people,” Xi said, according to CNBC.