Apple Signs Sweetheart Deal with China, Report Says

Business, National

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at Austin Community College in 2017 | Image from Austin Community College

Apple CEO Tim Cook “secretly” struck a $275 billion deal with Chinese officials in 2016, according to a report published by The Information. 

In the deal, Apple reportedly will assist China in developing their economy and technological skills. In China, Cook personally lobbied officials over Chinese threats against Apple Pay, iCloud, and the App Store. 

According to the report, Cook personally established a five-year arrangement with the Chinese government in 2016.

Apple executives were concerned about negative PR in China and felt compelled to push for closer ties with the nation’s government. China claimed Apple was not contributing enough to the local economy. 

 Documents allegedly show Cook tried to use a “memorandum of understanding” between Apple and the Chinese government to ease regulatory concerns about Apple products. 

Cook’s efforts resulted in the successful signing of a multibillion-dollar accord, effectively ending the dispute.

Several regulatory measures against the corporation were mitigated by exemptions, allowing Apple access to the Chinese market in exchange for significant investments, business transactions, and staff training in China.  

Apple pledged to assist Chinese manufacturers in developing: 

  • The most advanced manufacturing technologies.
  • Support for the training of high-quality Chinese talent 
  • Seals with Chinese software companies, collaborations with researchers at Chinese universities, and support for about a dozen Chinese government causes. 

 According to the agreement, if there were no objections from either side, the deal would extend for an additional year until May 2022. 

Apple vowed to invest billions of dollars more than its current spending in China, funding new Apple stores, research assistance, development facilities, and renewable energy projects. 

Other internal documents showed the tech giant’s pledge amounted to more than $275 billion in spending over five years. 

According to The Information, Apple is significantly reliant on Cook for foreign discussions, and the corporation may encounter issues dealing with government relations if Cook steps away as CEO.  


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