Apple CEO Tim Cook met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Seattle last week, and in one sentence he perfectly characterized what it’s like to meet one of the most powerful men in the world.
“Did you feel the room shake?” Cook asked after the meeting, according to a report by The New York Times’ Jane Perlez.
The two men were at an internet conference on Microsoft’s campus that the Chinese government put together to greet Xi.
Xi did a 10-minute photo op with executives from the top tech companies in the country, including Facebook and IBM.
Xi is arguably the strongest leader China has seen since the days of Mao Zedong, founder of the ruling Communist Party. Over the past year and change, he has consolidated power through an anti-corruption campaign that has ensnared the highest-level party officials in the past 30 years.
And the Chinese people love that. According to Pew Research Center, corruption is the biggest concern in the country. Xi has also drummed up support by striking a nationalist tone on issues such as China’s military activity in the South China Sea.
China’s neighbors – US allies – are worried about China’s claims that it has a right to dominate the waters.
Xi maintained that belief, despite US opposition, while speaking at the White House last week.
“We have the right to uphold our own territorial sovereignty and lawful and legitimate maritime rights and interests,” he said.
That’s a room shaker.