Chinese president meets with tech industry heavyweights on US trip

Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, shakes hands with Apple CEO Tim Cook, right, during a gathering of CEOs and other executives at Microsoft's main campus in Redmond, Wednesday. Pic: AP.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, shakes hands with Apple CEO Tim Cook, right, during a gathering of CEOs and other executives at Microsoft’s main campus in Redmond, Wednesday. Pic: AP.

Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos, the founders of Facebook and Amazon, and Apple CEO Tim Cook, joined Chinese President Xi Jinping and other tech executives for a tour of the sprawling suburban Microsoft campus.

Xi was shown several demonstrations Wednesday of high-tech products, including a large device for data manipulation.

Protesters holding signs in English and Chinese lined the streets outside Microsoft in Redmond, Washington.

Xi was scheduled to conclude his public appearances in Washington state with a visit to a high school in Tacoma before heading onto the White House.

Earlier, Xi  got to check out the inside of a new 787 being built for Xiamen Air, China’s first privately owned airline, when he toured Boeing’s massive assembly plant north of Seattle.

Speaking to hundreds of company workers, Xi said Wednesday his country will need about 6,000 new planes in the coming decades.

China wants to build many of its own aircraft, but Xi says the country will remain a key market for international plane makers for years to come. Boeing has estimated an overall price tag of $950 billion for the 6,330 new aircraft needed in China over the next 30 years.

China’s state-owned Commercial Aircraft Corp. also signed a cooperation agreement with Boeing to build a 737 aircraft assembly center in China. That will anger Boeing’s unions in Washington state, which fear a loss of U.S. jobs.

Xi was also due to visit a high school in Tacoma, Wednesday, the most public stop in his three-day visit to Washington state.

About 300 pre-selected student athletes and leaders were expected to greet the Chinese president at an assembly at Lincoln High School, where about three-quarters of the students are from minorities.

Meanwhile, Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan toured a medical center in Seattle with Bill and Melinda Gates, getting a close look at HIV vaccination research.

The group visited the Fred Hutchison Cancer Research Center on Wednesday. The Gateses are big contributors to the research center.

Peng spoke about collaborative work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and her own efforts toward an HIV vaccination.

The Chinese first lady also met with doctors who work on Fred Hutchison’s China Initiative, which aims to help control infectious disease outbreaks in that country.