So just how important is China to Apple?
Let us count the ways:
- China is Apple's second-biggest market after the US
- The company sold 4 million iPads there last year according to the Wall Street Journal, and demand for its iPhone 4 has been "staggering"
- Apple has six successful retail stores in China (two in Beijing, two in Shanghai, one in Hong Kong and one in Sanlitun)
- Much of its supply chain is based here (hello Foxconn), and the company is under increasing scrutiny about how these workers are treated
- Apple is being sued by Chinese company Proview International Holdings for the right to use the iPad name in China
And, of course, China is the world's fastest-growing market for a lot of things, including the kinds of consumer electronics that have made Apple the world's hottest brand and most valuable company.
So it's a pretty good time for Apple CEO Tim Cook to do what Steve Jobs never did: make an official visit to China as the chief executive of the company.
On Cook's agenda: meeting with Chinese government officials.
According to Beijing Daily newspaper, Cook met Monday with Beijing Mayor Guo Jinlong.
Guo reportedly told Cook that he hoped Apple would “further deepen cooperation, to achieve better development,” according to the report, which was cited today by Bloomberg.
Apple also apparently plans to make a "greater investment" in China, though the company's Beijing spokesperson didn't give further details.
Of course, Apple is also important to China.
As CNET points out, Apple contracts with dozens of Chinese companies, producing jobs and bolstering the Chinese economy.
And, more importantly, the tech-crazy Chinese seem to love Apple products as much as the rest of the world, which gives another spending jolt to economic growth in China.
More details as they emerge.