Apple CEO Tim Cook Touts Benefits of Globalization in China Speech

Apple CEO Tim Cook gave a talk on Saturday to attendees of the China Development Forum 2017, where he offered commentary on a range of issues including globalization, economics, and data privacy.

The annual forum is a high-profile conference in which senior Chinese government officials, global corporation leaders, institutions, and scholars gather to discuss major issues including Chinese economic reform and the country's relationship with the wider world. Other tech CEOs at this year's event included IBM's Ginni Rometty and Siemens' Joe Kaeser.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Cook chose to focus on the perceived merits of globalization during his speech, calling its impact on the world "great" in general, while noting the currently uneven distribution of its economic and cultural gains. Despite shortcomings – and amid calls from the Trump administration to direct investment inwardly – Cook encouraged China and other countries to bet on a future of more balanced development by opening themselves further to foreign investment.

"I think the worst thing would be to — because it didn't help everyone — is to say it's bad and do less of that," said Cook. "I think the reality is you can see that countries in the world... that isolate themselves, it's not good for their people."

In general, Cook's comments largely avoided sensitive Chinese political issues. On the subject of data privacy and cybersecurity, for example, Cook reiterated previous statements made about the importance of encryption to protect user information from state hackers and other bad actors. "We think that an individual should own their data and should be able to control their data," said Cook, while avoiding any explicit criticism of Chinese cybersecurity policy, which in its current form only serves to tighten state control over information flows and technology equipment within the country.

In contrast to outspoken political stands taken at home – such as last year's very public encryption battle with the FBI – the tone of Cook's comments reflected Apple's historically mindful approach to Sino relations, with the company having previously fallen foul of China's restrictive internet policies. Given Apple's ongoing efforts to crack China's booming smartphone market, combined with heavy investment in research and development facilities in the country, Cook's cautiousness aligns with Apple's strategy of sidestepping issues that could significantly damage future negotiations.

As part of his China trip, Tim Cook is also scheduled to speak with Xu Lin, director of the Cyberspace Administration of China, in a private meeting on Monday.

Note: Due to the political nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Politics, Religion, Social Issues forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

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Top Rated Comments

Adam Warlock Avatar
95 months ago
What a loathsome coward Tim Cook is. Not only does he avoid going on about privacy to China, but he also completely forgets about his other favourite topics such as transgender rights, climate change, equality of women, open borders, etc. (Interested parties are encouraged to check out how those issues are dealt with in Cook's current favourite country.) How very strange! Why doesn't he open a 'dialogue' about these topics? How about pushing to 'educate' the Chinese government regarding these matters? Oh, right: because he's a hypocrite of the highest (or rather lowest) order and that stuff is only useful to sell his toys in this part of the world where it's currently in fashion. Globalization is good for Cook because it allows him to produce his crap cheaper and sell it in more parts of the world. That's not a benefit for the many IMO.
Score: 164 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Ramius Avatar
95 months ago
Its been good to him but not for the thousans, perhaps millions of people who lost their jobs in his own country,

This is the typical argument we see for globalization. It only works well for those on top. And its easy to draw a flattering picture of it, because the top one percent enjoys the benefits and will gladly defend it.

Tim Cook is doing this. He is using his powerfull voice to fight the battle for the elite, against the public.
Score: 76 Votes (Like | Disagree)
pickaxe Avatar
95 months ago
What a loathsome coward Tim Cook is. (etc.)
Can't like your post twice, so I decided to quote it instead. It's exactly true. Globalists are opportunistic cowards. The guy can't separate politics and business when it's convenient, but when China or Saudi Arabia are involved, then suddenly he goes mute.
Score: 60 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mac32 Avatar
95 months ago
Says the guy whose company pays 0.005% in taxes. Disgusting.
Score: 54 Votes (Like | Disagree)
klrobinson999 Avatar
95 months ago
Globalization typically benefits only the corporations and Wall Street stockholders. The trade agreements and treaties over the past two decades haven't been friendly to workers or developing countries. All one needs to do is read Klein's "Shock Doctrine" to fully understand the turmoil it's caused; all in the name of free trade and the ugliness of the Chicago School of Economics.
Score: 52 Votes (Like | Disagree)
jlasoon Avatar
95 months ago
What a loathsome coward Tim Cook is. Not only does he avoid going on about privacy to China, but he also completely forgets about his other favourite topics such as transgender rights, climate change, equality of women, open borders, etc. (Interested parties are encouraged to check out how those issues are dealt with in Cook's current favourite country.) How very strange! Why doesn't he open a 'dialogue' about these topics? How about pushing to 'educate' the Chinese government regarding these matters? Oh, right: because he's a hypocrite of the highest (or rather lowest) order and that stuff is only useful to sell his toys in this part of the world where it's currently in fashion. Globalization is good for Cook because it allows him to produce his crap cheaper and sell it in more parts of the world. That's not a benefit for the many IMO.
This man is a complete joke!

You reap what you sow Tim.
[doublepost=1489836550][/doublepost]
It looks like he wants to be able to invest more in China.
Or better yet, needs access to modern day slave labor.
Score: 45 Votes (Like | Disagree)