All these years later, and Apple struggling in China seems like a distant memory. But there used to be a time when the company was looking for a foothold. Which, apparently it found, and the company’s CEO, Tim Cook, is the reason why.
At least, in part. That’s according to a report from The Information, which says Cook himself facilitated a variety of different conversations with Chinese government officials, and even signed an agreement that would perceivably help both entities. The publication’s report is based not only on Apple internal documents, but also several interviews.
With that, a lot of information was gleaned. Cook apparently visited China several times throughout the year 2016. The goal? To reach an understanding with the Chinese government, because apparently several different Apple executives did not think the relationship between the company and the governmental body was in the best possible spot. Chinese officials apparently did not think Apple was doing enough for the local economy, either.
So, a closer alliance was sought. Especially as the Chinese government was threatening in some way or another services like Apple Pay and iCloud. As a result, Cook “personally lobbied” government officials in the region. Cook wanted to use a “memorandum of understanding” between the company and the National Development and Reform Commission. That memorandum would see concessions reached in return for different regulatory exemptions.
That included a major investment, apparently. One that you might recall from May of 2016. That’s when Apple invested $1 billion in the ride-sharing service Didi Chuxing. That was a move to calm relations with the local government. After that major investment, Cook, Apple’s Jeff Williams and Lisa Jackson all visited with senior Chinese government officials. Further negotiations from Cook directly led to the signing of the five-year agreement between the Chinese government and Apple, according to the report.
The report says Apple pledged it would deliver several different outcomes, including the “training of high-quality Chinese talents,” and develop “the most advanced manufacturing technologies.” Apple also said it would utilize more components from Chinese suppliers and much more. Apple also said it would be investing directly into Chinese tech firms as well.
The five-year agreement actually had a rule set that if there were no objections made by either side, then it would automatically extend until May of 2022. The report says the deal is worth upwards of $275 billion.
It’s absolutely worth a read, the full report. Keep in mind it’s beyond a paywall. But go check out The Information for more.