Apple CEO Tim Cook has “secretly” made a deal with China in which he agreed to invest about $275 billion of Apple’s money to boost the country’s economy and its “prowess technology,” according to a new report.
The five-year deal was reportedly struck during a series of visits Cook made to China in 2016 amid growing regulatory hostilities over Cupertino. Since then, Apple has become the biggest smartphone brand in China.
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“Prior to the meetings, Apple executives were scrambling to salvage the company’s relationship with Chinese officials, who believed the company was not contributing enough to the local economy,” reports Information.
As a result of the “government crackdown” and the bad publicity that went with it, iPhone sales in China plummeted. So Cook struck a deal with authorities in which he pledged billions in Apple cash, according to leaked documents.
The deal is supposed to promise support that includes “the training of high-quality Chinese talent”, “advanced manufacturing technologies”, new retail stores, research and development facilities and renewable energy projects.
Cook also promised that Apple would buy more product components from Chinese suppliers, collaborate with local universities, sign agreements with Chinese software companies and invest in Chinese companies.
Apple has already made big investments
Cook “personally lobbied officials” after authorities threatened to impose restrictions on Apple services like iCloud and the App Store, according to the report. Other Apple officials, including COO Jeff Williams and Lisa Jackson, vice president of environment and policy, also met with Chinese officials.
In the same year, Apple invested $1 billion in Chinese company Didi Chuxing, of which Apple is now a board member. Apple also disbursed more than 50 billion yuan ($7 million) last year to help China’s COVID-19 relief efforts.
The 1,250-word ‘memorandum of understanding’ would run for five years, with the option of extending it for another year – until May 2022 – if neither party objects.
The report also raises concerns that Apple may have difficulty dealing with the Chinese government following Cook’s resignation as CEO. You can read the full report of Information for more.