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macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001

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.


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.

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


macrumors P6
Oct 1, 2007
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. ???‍♂️
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Lounge vibes 05

macrumors 68040
May 30, 2016
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 the people thinking that this will affect Tim in the slightest, read this part.
The board is definitely not forcing him out anytime soon, if anything they’re trying to keep him as long as possible to make them more $$$


Jan 1, 2015
TMU Tim spent a few years in China when he was doing Supply Chain work.

So long as the agreement is in compliance with US, EU & other govt laws on how they deal with CN then I see very little to complain about.

It is expected that any domestic or multinational to follow the laws & rules of the country they operate in.

When they disagree with the country then they should pull out like what Google did.

In spite of all the negativity of China they did the right thing of not allowing Facebook. If Facebook was in China I'd have expected a civil war by now

If you have a problem with their 1-child policy then you are ignoring or are ignorant about the fact that they were abl to life ~700 million of their citizens into the middle class, at the time did not have the capability to feed more citizens that would have been born and that the climate disaster was delayed by a few decades by having fewer carbon foot prints being created. Many cannot comprehend the impact humans have globally so can easily deny its impact in a worldwide scale.
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macrumors 601
Nov 11, 2020
Mexico City living in Berlin
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


macrumors regular
Mar 23, 2009
At first glance, I am not happy about this, and agree with every comment before mine, which have been overwhelmingly negative. If I thought that these investments would push China to a more open society and economy, it would be a different story, but the history of the CCP has taught us otherwise. All this tech crap about selling our data and fornicating with Communist, genocidal regimes makes me want to convert to a Luddite. I mean, are we at a point in the tech world where any advancement will inevitably put our economy and security at risk?
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