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Bill Gates Arrives in Beijing After 4-Year Hiatus, Expresses Eagerness to Address Global Challenges

Updated: Jan 3

[Edited] In a significant development, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is scheduled to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to China.

Bill Gates
Credits: Justin Tallis//Pool via REUTERS

This meeting marks Xi's first encounter with a foreign private entrepreneur in recent years.


While the details of the meeting have not been disclosed, it is speculated to be a one-on-one discussion. Gates, who arrived in Beijing for the first time since 2019, mentioned on Twitter that he would be meeting with partners working on global health and development challenges through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Both the foundation and China's State Council Information Office, responsible for media queries on behalf of the Chinese government, have not yet responded to requests for comment.


Bill Gates stepped down from Microsoft's board in 2020 to focus on philanthropic endeavors related to global health, education, and climate change. His last reported meeting with President Xi was in 2015, during the Boao Forum in Hainan province. In early 2020, Xi expressed gratitude to Gates and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their assistance to China, including a $5 million pledge for the country's fight against COVID-19.


This meeting signifies the end of a long hiatus by President Xi from meeting foreign private entrepreneurs and business leaders due to the pandemic. While several foreign CEOs have visited China since its reopening earlier this year, most of their meetings have been with government ministers. Premier Li Qiang met with a group of foreign CEOs, including Apple's Tim Cook, in March, and Tesla's Elon Musk met with Vice-Premier Ding Xuexiang last month.


However, the foreign business community's sentiment towards China has become cautious as tensions between China and the United States escalate, and Xi emphasizes the country's focus on national security.


Bill Gates' visit to China also precedes a long-delayed visit by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, aimed at stabilizing relations between the two largest economies and strategic rivals. Blinken recently had a tense call with China's foreign minister Qin Gang, during which Qin urged the United States to stop meddling in China's affairs and harming its security.


The meeting between Bill Gates and President Xi Jinping holds significance for both the technology and philanthropic sectors. It remains to be seen what discussions will take place and the potential impact on bilateral relations between China and the United States.

 
  • Bill Gates is set to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit to China.

  • This meeting marks Xi's first encounter with a foreign private entrepreneur in recent years.

  • The details of the meeting have not been disclosed, but it is speculated to be a one-on-one discussion.


Source: REUTERS


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