Apple CEO Tim Cook visited both India and China in the past week, and everywhere he went, people rolled out the red carpet for him.
He was there on business, not pleasure, but even still his trip seemed more fitting for a diplomat or a head of state than a corporate CEO.
That’s not surprising. Apple’s almost like a country in and of itself. It has 115,00 employees, and claims that it’s responsible for creating and supporting 1.9 million jobs when you count its developer ecosystem. It pulled in $234 billion in revenue last fiscal year – a figure similar to the GDP of Portugal.
Here’s what his trip looked like:
Cook’s trip started in Beijing, the capital of China. He met with the president of Didi Chuxing, which Apple recently invested $1 billion into. Didi Chuxing is the “Uber of China,” and of course, Cook started his trip by getting into a Didi taxi.
- Tim Cook/Twitter
He took the Didi Taxi to an Apple Store in Beijing, where he met with several high-profile Chinese app developers, including the founders and CEOs of of Tap4Fun, DayDayCook, Meitu, and Toutiao.
Here’s the whole story from state-run China Daily.
Cook also took an afternoon and jammed with Singaporean singer JJ Lin to show off some of the new instrument samples Apple added to Garage Band, its music production software.
Then it was time to get serious. Cook was in China not only to make friends but also to meet with government officials. The website of the China Ministry of Industry and Information Technology put out an official statement about Cook’s visit, saying that China’s top internet regulator, Miao Wei, “hopes Apple can expand its business in China.”
- China Xinhua News
Here Cook is meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, a very high-ranking Chinese politician and a former Communist Party Secretary in Guangdong. He’s also a Politboro member.
- Xinhua State News Agency
Then it was off to India. When Cook arrived at his hotel, Indian press literally took paparazzi-style photos of him. His room in Mumbai was at the Taj Mahal Palace and local press loved the story that it cost 87,000 Rs a night — or about $1290 in US dollars.
The first thing on Cook’s itinerary in Mumbai was to visit the Siddhivinayak Temple, dedicated to Hindi god Ganesha.
Here’s video from the temple.
Later, he met with several Indian business leaders, including Vodafone India CEO Sunil Sood, ICICI managing director Chanda Kochhar, and Reliance chair Mukesh Ambani. During the day, Apple also announced its first startup accelerator. Throughout the day, Cook even found time to meet with Indian reporters too.
— Rajiv Makhni (@RajivMakhni) May 19, 2016
That evening, Cook went to a party at Bollywood star Shah Rukh Kahn’s home. There, he rubbed shoulders with some of the most famous Bollywood players, including Amitabh Bachchan and composer A R Rahman.
— Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) May 18, 2016
Even famous Bollywood directors and tennis stars jockeyed to get a selfie with Apple’s CEO.
— Farah Khan (@TheFarahKhan) May 18, 2016
The next day, Apple launched a long-rumored development site for Apple Maps in Hyderabad. Here’s Cook’s ribbon-cutting speech:
And here’s Apple’s press release.
At the unveiling, Cook met with powerful regional officials.
CM Sri K Chandrashekar Rao formally lighting lamp at inaugural event of Apple Developement Centre, Hyd, Telangana pic.twitter.com/Lx7jL9gjSZ
— Telangana CMO (@TelanganaCMO) May 19, 2016
And as befitting a dignitary, he received some pretty nice gifts as well.
Minister Sri KT Rama Rao speaking at the launch of Apple Development Centre. Chief Minister Sri K. Chandrashekar Rao pic.twitter.com/jg8aUjs6Xi
— shiva (@shivareddy1312) May 20, 2016
That evening, Cook caught a cricket match in Uttar Pradesh between the Gujarat Lions and the Kolkata Knight Riders.
Cook’s a big sports fan, and he seemed to be very comfortable at the match, having a good time even though it was hot out and his understanding of the rules isn’t as strong as his grasp on the sport football. Here’s a sideline interview:
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 20, 2016
Good perspective on how important cricket is to India here.
He also visited a women’s college.
Lots of talent and enthusiasm at the new Mac Lab at GNITS women’s college. Enjoyed visiting you yesterday! pic.twitter.com/ZqCnVkBpii
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) May 20, 2016
He looks like he’s having a great time!
On Saturday, Cook met with Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi to discuss Apple Stores, made-in-India manufacturing, and Apple’s investment in the country — and also, apparently, Modi’s new app, the “Narenda Modi Mobile App.”
- Ministry of External Affairs, India