- Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing two sources familiar with the matter.
- The report said it could be a one-on-one meeting, without revealing what they might discuss.
- Gates tweeted on Wednesday that he has landed in Beijing for the first time since 2019.
Bill Gates, co-chairman of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, during the EEI 2023 event in Austin, Texas, USA, Monday, June 12, 2023.
Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday, Reuters reported on Wednesday, citing two sources familiar with the matter.
The meeting will be Xi’s first with a foreign chief executive in recent years, the report said, as the Chinese leader stopped traveling abroad for nearly three years after China closed its borders during the pandemic.
It could be a one-on-one meeting, Reuters said without disclosing details of what they might discuss.
CNBC reached out to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but did not hear back by the time of publication.
The two men met in 2015 on the sidelines of the Boao Forum, a gathering of political and business leaders, held in Hainan province. They discussed views on strengthening public health services and poverty alleviation, according to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Gates tweeted Wednesday that he had landed in Beijing to “visit partners who have been working on global health and development challenges” for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It is his first visit since 2019.
The billionaire stepped down as Microsoft chairman in March 2020 to “devote more time to his philanthropic priorities, including global health, development, education and his growing commitment to tackling climate change.” He left his full-time leadership role at Microsoft in 2008.
Gates’ visit comes ahead of a much-anticipated trip by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to China this weekend, aimed at stabilizing relations between the world’s two largest economies.
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang and Blinken spoke on Wednesday and “discussed the importance of maintaining open lines of communication” to manage US-China relations and “avoid miscalculations and conflicts,” the US State Department said.
Other foreign technology leaders – such as Apple CEO Tim Cook and Tesla CEO Elon Musk – have met with Chinese ministers in recent months.
In March, Cook met with Chinese Commerce Minister Wang Wentao to discuss China’s reopening and broader supply chain issues. Musk met Chinese Vice Premier Ding Xuexiang and other top Chinese officials in May, as Beijing appears to portray a friendly business environment for foreign companies amid tensions with the US government.