BEIJING: China's President Xi Jinping has asked former Starbucks chairman Howard Schultz to help promote trade between Washington and Beijing in a rare missive to a foreign business figure, state media reported Thursday.
Xi, responding to an earlier message from Schultz, urged the multi-billionaire to "continue to play an active role in promoting China-US economic and trade cooperation", the official Xinhua news agency said.
China will "provide a broader space for companies from all over the world, including Starbucks and other American companies, to develop in China", Xi wrote in his letter.
It was not immediately clear why the letter was published by state media, but it comes as relations between the superpowers have reached a nadir with bitter disputes over trade, tech, security and rights. Starbucks, a ubiquitous sight in major Chinese cities, says it has opened over 4,700 coffee shops across the country since 1999.