In short: A new report claims that Apple CEO Tim Cook has signed a secret $ 275 billion five-year agreement with Chinese officials under which Cupertino will invest in the country’s economic and technological development. In return, Apple’s operations and services will not be subject to the rigorous regulatory scrutiny that Chinese agencies often impose on foreign companies.
Information Cook reportedly signed the deal personally in 2016 during his visit to China. Apple’s interviews and internal documents allegedly show that he “personally lobbied officials” over regulatory threats against Apple Pay, iCloud and the App Store.
Cook signed a “memorandum of understanding” with China’s National Development and Reform Commission, in which Apple made concessions in exchange for legal exceptions.
Apple’s pledge included helping Chinese manufacturers develop cutting-edge manufacturing technologies and supporting educating Chinese talent, using more Chinese components in their devices, signing deals with the country’s software makers, and investing directly in Chinese companies. In addition, some of the billions of dollars Apple has poured into the country will go to retail stores, R&D centers, and renewable energy projects.
One of the ways Apple allegedly capitalized on the deal is through its ability to store encryption keys for iCloud user data in the region. The Chinese government usually forces foreign companies to transfer responsibility for such data to local organizations.
Apple has done better in China than most US firms; During the fourth fiscal quarter, annual sales growth in the country was 83%. Plus, the iPhone maker has a long history of admiration for the Chinese government, as it previously removed thousands of games, apps and VPNs from its App Store at the behest of local authorities. He also removed the protest app and news app Quartz during the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.