China’s President Xi Jinping will meet with Bill Gates in Beijing on Friday, Chinese state media CCTV reported.
The meeting will be Xi’s first with a foreign entrepreneur in recent years. He had stopped travelling abroad for nearly three years as China shut its borders during the pandemic. Plans for the meeting were first reported by Reuters.
Since arriving in Beijing for the first time since 2019 on Wednesday, the Microsoft (MSFT.O) co-founder and philanthropist has given a speech at the Global Health Drug Discovery Institute about the need to use technology to solve global health challenges.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Beijing municipal government, which founded the institute with Tsinghua University, also pledged to each provide $50 million to bolster the institute’s drug discovery capacity.
Gates stepped down from Microsoft’s board in 2020 to focus on philanthropic works related to global health, education and climate change.
The last reported meeting between Xi and Gates was in 2015, when they met on the side-lines of the Boao forum in Hainan province. In early 2020, Xi wrote a letter to Gates thanking him and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for pledging assistance to China including $5 million for the country’s fight against COVID-19.
A number of foreign CEOs have visited China since it reopened early this year but most have mainly met with government ministers.