Apple CEO Tim Cook 'Secretly' Signed $275 Billion Deal With China in 2016

Apple CEO Tim Cook "secretly" signed an agreement worth more than $275 billion with Chinese officials, promising that Apple would help to develop China's economy and technological capabilities, The Information reports.

1x 1
In an extensive paywalled report based on interviews and purported internal Apple documents, The Information revealed that ‌Tim Cook‌ personally forged a five-year agreement with the Chinese government during a series of in-person visits to the country in 2016. The need to push for a closer alliance with the Chinese government reportedly came from a number of Apple executives who were concerned about bad publicity in China and the company's poor relationship with Chinese officials, who believed that Apple was not contributing enough to the local economy.

Alleged internal documents show that Cook "personally lobbied officials" in China over threats made against Apple Pay, iCloud, and the App Store. Cook set out to use a "memorandum of understanding" between Apple and a powerful Chinese government agency called the National Development and Reform Commission to formally agree to a number of concessions in return for regulatory exemptions. The 1,250-word agreement was written by Apple's government affairs team in China and stewarded by Cook as he met with Chinese officials.

In May 2016, Cook announced that Apple would be investing $1 billion in the Chinese ride-hailing startup Didi Chuxing in a pointed attempt to mollify authorities, the report added. Shortly after, Cook, Apple Chief Operating Officer Jeff Williams, and government affairs head Lisa Jackson met with senior government officials in Zhongnanhai, the central headquarters of the Communist Party of China.

Cook's negotiations led to the successful signing of the multibillion-dollar agreement, quashing a number of regulatory actions against the company with exemptions and enabling access to the Chinese market, in return for significant investments, business deals, and worker training in the country.

The agreement included a pledge from Apple to help Chinese manufacturers develop "the most advanced manufacturing technologies," "support the training of high-quality Chinese talents," use more components from Chinese suppliers, sign deals with Chinese software firms, collaborate with research in Chinese universities, and directly invest in Chinese tech companies, as well as assistance with around a dozen Chinese government causes. If there were no objections from either side, the deal would be automatically be extended for an additional year until May 2022, according to the agreement.

Apple vowed to invest "many billions of dollars more" than its current expenditure in China, including on new retail stores, research and development facilities, and renewable energy projects. Other internal documents reportedly showed that Apple's pledge amounted to more than $275 billion in spending over a period of five years.

The Information suggests that Apple is heavily reliant on Cook for international negotiations and speculates that it could face difficulties dealing with government affairs when Cook stands down as the company's CEO.

For more information, see The Information's full report.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News 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.

Top Rated Comments

thadoggfather Avatar
11 months ago
Here's a crazy thought: how about investing in the country in which your company is based out of?

Offensive, I know. Not feasible, I know. Ballsy to even mention... I know.
Score: 80 Votes (Like | Disagree)
thadoggfather Avatar
11 months ago
Let's Go Tim!



Man of the people, always putting personal priorities before the people.

Erm, wait, that's not right.

Always putting products before the people.

Oh well, whatever. let's get some more emojis and let this whole thing fizzle. ???‍♂️
Score: 52 Votes (Like | Disagree)
aesc80 Avatar
11 months ago
Remember when Apple said they’d move out of China and start doing more assembly in Vietnam to diversify their production? Pepperidge Farms remembers!
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
contacos Avatar
11 months ago
Sick. I know this may be hypocritically from me since there is like no way to avoid anything "china" which is almost the point and sad truth but its kind of messed up how everyone is willing to just look the other way as long as you can do nice business with them. It sort of reminds me of Nazi Germany and how a lot of cooperations not only continued but were happy to do business with them until they started to hit allies.

In short: China managed to slowly make everyone their B... I mean relying on them. Just look what happens when China closes its harbours for a few weeks. MESS
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
bobenhaus Avatar
11 months ago
Way to go Comrade! I hope China has an extra room for you to stay when you are up for treason.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
aidler Avatar
11 months ago
Maybe one day he should think about resettling to China… just saying.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

xiaomi lei jun

Xiaomi Pledges 'War of Life and Death' Against Apple to Become World's Biggest Smartphone Brand

Friday February 11, 2022 4:35 am PST by
Xiaomi intends to step up its challenge to Apple, the company's founder announced this week (via South China Morning Post). Xiaomi founder and chief executive Lei Jun said on Chinese social media platform Weibo that the company will specifically focus on the high-end segment of the global smartphone market in an effort to directly rival Apple, attempting to fill the void left by Huawei....
iPhone 12 Made in India

India Planning Homegrown Operating System to Rival iOS and Android

Tuesday January 25, 2022 5:50 am PST by
The Indian government is planning to incentivize the creation of an "indigenous" mobile operating system to rival iOS and Android, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has announced (via The Economic Times). The proposal, announced on Monday by Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar, will encourage the technology industry to create a homegrown Indian...
apple lineup except the ipad is sad

Apple Reports All-Time Quarterly Revenue Records for iPhone, Mac, Wearables, and Services

Thursday January 27, 2022 1:50 pm PST by
Apple today reported its earnings results for the fourth quarter of 2021, which corresponds with the first quarter of the 2022 fiscal year. Overall, Apple reported revenue of $123.9 billion, which is an all-time quarterly record for the company. On a category-by-category basis, Apple also set all-time quarterly revenue records for the iPhone, Mac, Wearables, and Services:iPhone: $71.6...
tim cook privacy conference

Apple CEO Tim Cook in New York for Meeting With EU's Competition Chief Margrethe Vestager

Friday October 1, 2021 9:45 am PDT by
Apple CEO Tim Cook is in New York City today for a meeting with Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition, according to a person familiar with the matter. Vestager was a keynote speaker at Fordham University's annual Conference on International Antitrust Law and Policy earlier today. It's unclear when Cook and Vestager are scheduled to meet or what topics will be on the...
timcooktulane

Apple CEO Tim Cook Makes TIME's List of 100 Most Influential People of 2021

Wednesday September 15, 2021 10:20 am PDT by
Apple CEO Tim Cook is one of the 100 Most Influential People of 2021 according to TIME's newly published rankings. TIME shares an annual list highlighting world leaders, celebrities, tech company executives, authors, musicians, athletes, and more, and this is not the first time Cook has been celebrated. This year's list is broken up into categories that include Icons, Pioneers, Titans,...
China iCloud Feature 2

Apple's Security Compromises in China Outlined in New Report

Monday May 17, 2021 1:46 pm PDT by
Apple has been making concessions on privacy and security in order to continue building and selling its devices in China, according to an in-depth report from The New York Times. The focal point of the report is Apple's decision to comply with a 2016 law that requires all personal information and data collected in China to be kept in China, which has led Apple to build a China data center...
Apple Logo Cash Feature Blue

Shareholders Advisory Group Doesn't Want Tim Cook to Get $99 Million Pay Package

Wednesday February 16, 2022 10:49 am PST by
Apple shareholders are being urged to vote against a planned $99 million compensation package for Apple CEO Tim Cook, reports Financial Times. Shareholder advisory group Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) said on Wednesday that there is a "significant concern" with the stock Cook was awarded in 2021. Cook last year was awarded stock valued at $82 million, along with a $3 million salary ...
tim cook apple park

Tim Cook Reportedly Attending the Oscars on Sunday

Friday March 25, 2022 7:55 am PDT by
Apple CEO Tim Cook will attend the 94th Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday as Apple TV+ is nominated for several Oscar awards, according to the former editor of The Hollywood Reporter and founding partner of Puck, Matthew Belloni. Cook's attendance at the event is due the fact that Apple is nominated for a total of six Oscar awards. The six nominations include best picture for the film...

Popular Stories

USB C Over Lightning Feature

EU Passes Law to Switch iPhone to USB-C by End of 2024

Tuesday October 4, 2022 3:30 am PDT by
The European Parliament today voted overwhelmingly in favor of enforcing USB-C as a common charging port across a wide range of consumer electronic devices, including the iPhone and AirPods, by the end of 2024. The proposal, known as a directive, forces all consumer electronics manufacturers who sell their products in Europe to ensure that a wide range of devices feature a USB-C port. This...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

10 New iOS 16 Features Coming Later This Year

Monday October 3, 2022 2:41 pm PDT by
iOS 16 was released to the public three weeks ago with a customizable Lock Screen, the ability to edit iMessages, improvements to Focus modes, and much more. And in the coming months, iPhone and iPad users have even more new features to look forward to. We've rounded up 10 new features coming to the iPhone and iPad later this year, according to Apple. Many of the features are part of iOS...
magsafe charger orange

Apple Releases New MagSafe Charger Firmware

Tuesday October 4, 2022 12:09 pm PDT by
Apple today released updated firmware for the MagSafe Charger that is designed to work with the iPhone 12 and later and the AirPods Pro 2. The new firmware is version 10M1821, up from the prior 10M229 firmware. Note that in the Settings app, you'll see a different version number than the firmware number, with the update displayed as version 255.0.0.0 (the prior firmware was 247.0.0.0). The...
maxresdefault

Video: AirPods Pro 2 vs. Bose QuietComfort II

Monday October 3, 2022 12:50 pm PDT by
Apple on September 23 officially launched the second-generation version of the AirPods Pro, introducing updated Active Noise Cancellation, Adaptive Transparency, improved sound, and more. Right around the same time, Bose introduced new QuietComfort II earbuds with many similar features, so we thought we'd compare the two to see which has the edge. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for ...
iOS 16

Apple Preparing iOS 16.0.3 With More Bug Fixes Following iPhone 14 Launch

Monday October 3, 2022 7:53 am PDT by
iOS 16.0.2 was released last month with several bug fixes for iPhone 14 issues, excessive copy and paste permission prompts, and more. Now, evidence suggests that Apple is planning to release iOS 16.0.3 with additional bug fixes. Evidence of an upcoming iOS 16.0.3 software update has shown up in MacRumors analytics logs, which have been a reliable indicator in the past. There are several...
ipad pro m1 feature

Gurman: Apple Event This October Remains Unlikely, No Touch ID for iPhone 15

Sunday October 2, 2022 6:41 am PDT by
Apple is developing new iPad Pro, Mac, and Apple TV models, and at least some of these products will be released in October, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. However, Gurman continues to believe that Apple is unlikely to hold an event this month. In the latest edition of his Power On newsletter, Gurman said "the big iPhone 14 unveiling last month was probably it for Apple in 2022 in...
General YouTube Feature 1

You May Soon Need to Be a YouTube Premium Subscriber to Watch 4K Videos

Monday October 3, 2022 4:29 am PDT by
YouTube may make watching videos in 4K quality on the platform exclusive to only YouTube Premium subscribers, according to screenshots posted by users on Twitter and Reddit. On Reddit (1,2) and Twitter, some users have started to recently notice that on iOS, and presumably across other platforms also, YouTube is now saying that in order to watch videos in 4K, the user must be a paying...
Apple SIM Card

Apple SIM No Longer Available for Activating New Cellular Data Plans on iPads

Sunday October 2, 2022 8:04 am PDT by
As of October 1, Apple SIM is no longer available for activating new cellular data plans on supported iPad models, according to an Apple support document. Introduced in 2014, the Apple SIM was designed to allow iPad users to activate cellular data plans from multiple carriers around the world. Initially, the Apple SIM was a physical nano-SIM card, but it was embedded inside later iPad Pro...