BEIJING, Sept. 18 (UPI) -- China's top business executives are expected to travel to the United States during President Xi Jinping's visit next week, but Beijing has been increasingly exerting its influence over U.S. technology companies and requiring them to hand over sensitive data.
Chinese state newspaper the People's Daily reported on Friday that 15 Chinese chief executives are expected to travel with Xi and China's cybersecurity chief Lu Wei during their visit to Seattle next week. Top executives Jack Ma of Alibaba, Ma Huateng of Tencent, Yang Yuanqin of Lenovo and Li Yanhong of Baidu are expected to meet with American executives including Tim Cook of Apple, Warren Buffet of Berkshire Hathaway and Amazon's Jeff Bezos.
Other executives traveling with Xi include the heads of the Bank of China, food manufacturer Shuanghui and automotive parts manufacturer Wanxiang.
Technology executives from both countries are expected to discuss cooperation on cybersecurity issues, but the meeting comes at a time when U.S. firms are increasingly expected to cooperate with Beijing's tightening surveillance measures, The New York Times reported.
Three sources who spoke to The Times on the condition of anonymity said companies were recently asked to agree to China's national security policies, and Beijing is forcing U.S. firms to build back doors, or third-party access to systems by providing encryption keys or handing over a source code to the Chinese government.
Companies that sign the pledge must allow China to spy on users, and many are expected to comply – refusing to cooperate could lead to additional restrictions and new penalties, according to the report.
Despite the obstacles they face, U.S. companies are steadily investing in the world's largest-growing market. Dell has promised to spend $125 billion in China within the next five years, and Cisco has agreed to invest $10 billion over the next several years.