CEO's of Apple, Google and IBM are slated to be heading to China this weekend for the China Development Forum, which is a bit of an awkward time. After President Trump signed new tariffs on China yesterday, triggering a trade war (one that China has already fired back on). The China Development Forum is not a new event, but rather an annual gathering of Western corporations to help build relationships with the Chinese government. Apple and IBM do sell its products in China right now, and Apple actually saw its revenue fall in the last fiscal year, so it's looking to reverse that trend. Meanwhile, Google is completely blocked in China, with the only product available in the country being Android – and that's a Google-less Android operating system.
In the past, IBM has announced a deal with Wanda Group at the forum. This was supposed to expand IBM's cloud market in the country, but, that deal is falling through right about now. At least according to recent reports. Apple, meanwhile, has been criticized recently, for storing iCloud data for users in China, on state-controlled server farms. Remember, in China, the government controls the internet and is able to censor quite a few websites – actually it's thousands of websites. Google itself pulled out of mainland China back in 2010, after the government began censoring its search results. It has attempted to return to the country recently, but so far nothing has been returned.
Google is the company, out of the three, that really need to make some headway at the China Development Forum this weekend. The company is virtually unavailable in the world's largest country, which is costing the company quite a bit of revenue – not that Google is losing revenue in the first place. Google has been pushing into new markets, like India with Android Go and "lite" versions of its apps. Now Google needs to push into China with search, if not more of its products. There have been talks about Google launching a censored app store in the country, but it likely wouldn't gain much steam since there are already hundreds of Android app stores available in the country. And if the trade war between the US and China does continue, things could get much tougher for not only Google, but also Apple, IBM and other companies that are looking to do business in China.