Apple CEO Cook keeps trying to right the ship in China

“Apple CEO Tim Cook is on a tour of China, meeting with politicians, shaking hands and taking pictures,” Tony Owusu reports for TheStreet. “Cook is also pledging to create the company’s first research center in the country, as Apple attempts to turn around dwindling sales in the world’s second-largest economy.”

“This isn’t the first investment in China Apple has made this year. The company pledged a $1 billion investment in Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing Technology in May,” Owusu reports. “The impetus for these investments is apparent. Apple is struggling in China.”

Owusu reports, “The reasons for Apple’s inability to gain much traction are numerous, including strong competition from China-based smartphone manufacturers and government scrutiny bordering on harassment.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: How many more pay-for-play “investments” from Apple will be required? A billion bucks for Didi. A new R&D center. Many billions of dollars in Apple locations in China. Sheesh.

Good luck, Tim!

Interns, how many times until you just do it?! TTK!!!


  1. THE reason: We’re talking about China: Criminal Nation.

    ALL China wants is Apple IP. They can steal it FAR more easily if Apple is creating the IP inside China. China’s totalitarian government knows full well that their populace has no incentive to be creative, despite efforts to educate them to the highest possible degree, including sending them off to USA and UK universities.

    This THE typical result of totalitarianism under the guise of ‘communism’. The same rubbish is going on in North Korea and the aftermath is obvious inside Russia. If there is no personal incentive, if the state takes everything and there is no reasonable compensation, the majority of people don’t bother to create. Therefore, just as we’ve seen for 18 years, since China was given ‘Most Favored Nation’ status by the Clinton administration, the USA has been bombarded with Chinese hacking seeking all things IP. Robbery of other country’s, other company’s, other people’s creativity is the ONLY source of new technology, new just-about-anything-else.

    That’s one reason I’ve been pestering Apple to ‘Get The Hell Out Of China’ for the last decade. /*rant*

    Suggested alternative country ready, waiting and deserving of Apple’s investment: The Philippines. Brazil. Please add other ideas below!

      1. Really? I rarely look at star ratings after I post stuff. I’ll check right now! I’m aware that at least some of the ‘Red Hacker Alliance’ kids (or were kids back in 2007) have scrutinized some of my China rants. Considering *cough* erection of ‘The Great Firewall Of China’, I figured everything I post was being censored, unavailable to the Chinese citizenry. I suppose there are those with ‘golden key’s to doorways through the wall, but they haven’t stated anything to my directly for years. Apparently, they’d rather play the game of passive aggression.

      2. Wow, massive 1 star *DING*s! I wonder if this is a ‘flash mob’ effect with some SPY hanging about here alerting ready redTards to the dangers of my independent and contrarian thinking. Out they fly through The Great Firewall to avenge the motherland and *DING* me down and out of existence. HAHAHAHA! What an amusing thought.

        Hey China citizenry! Thinking for yourself is WoNDeRFuL! Escape the mental prison of China: Criminal Nation and join in!


        These are the BEST of words and concepts. DARE. Creativity is the best pursuit of mankind.

      1. • Creating airstrip islands in the China Sea.
        • Ignoring rulings of international law against them.
        • Intimidating neighboring countries
        • Stealing weapon plans from the rest of the world then building them in China.
        • Investing taxes in building their military. (Oops, familiar…)
        • Shoving international companies out of China in preference of ripoff Chinese equivalents.
        • Mass censorship of the rest of the world from their citizens.
        • Consistent human rights abuse against their citizens.
        • Intolerant of free speech, most specifically anything disagreeing with their totalitarian government.
        • Persecution and prosecution of dissidents.
        • Blatant design of creating a new Chinese empire.
        • Invasion, take over and abuse of Tibet.
        … So familiar. History predicts it all.

        But they build stuff for us for cheap! Do you want your Apple gear at double the price?! All praise Wallmart! Ad nauseam. 😛

        And then synchronicity: The radio station I’m listening to over the Internet starts playing the song “China”by Red Rockers. Lyrics:

        Danced with wind and danced with fire
        Killed the truth and called the liar
        Bleeding in it’s mystery when the moon began to fall
        Dreamers are not all they seem,
        Sleeping in her silent dream
        She locks it all inside and hides it all away

        China, China!

        Yup! Thank you godz of synchronicity.

    1. Brazil is a definite alternative, with many advantages – Foxconn already has a factory there.

      The Philippines is a waste of time and money.

      Vietnam is the future – or if you want to look 10 years into the future, Apple and afoxconn should start building factory cities in Cambodia, Laos, or Thailand.

    2. “…China’s totalitarian government knows full well that their populace has no incentive to be creative..”

      I don’t think that’s a fair statement. People yearn to be free everywhere. I don’t think you or I or especially Apple and Tim Cook understand China at all. One thing I do know is that if you study China, you will see why the people of China will never submit to being exploited by any foreign power in any way ever again.

      They are willing to make Apple products, for a great profit, including learning all about Apple products. They are not willing to hand over their population as mindless consumers because that is a form of corruption and conquest. They are not willing to be dependent on foreign technology especially. This is the mistake we have made.

      So they walk a line. They allow Apple to sell, a bit. As long as Apple makes products there and employs people, but they won’t allow Apple to sell too much. Tim needs to study Chinese history.

      China is an economic competitor with the United States now, matching us in almost every way. Tim needs to ask himself where do Apple’s interests and the interests of the Chinese people intersect? It may be that Apple has to license its technology to Chinese partners, and in doing so, open the Hanfu as it were. Does Apple wish to be that much of a partner to a U.S. competitor?

      1. Apple will not license their Technology, especially not to China.

        There might be other alternatives, though – you are correct, though, that Tim Cook does not understand China, at all.

        Steve Jobs might not have understood it either, but his way of playing of hardball was successful. Tim Cook tries to be too much of a buddy to an adversary that doesn’t care one iota about friendship.

      2. I, unlike most, strive to take the complex and distill it into something as simple yet factual as possible. I usually regret bothering to RE-translate for people who don’t understand what I’ve said as there’s typically some distraction going on at the receivers end that has nothing to do with me or my communication.

        But you do bring up some useful points about China. I will in no way accept the behavior of China’s criminal government. But it’s useful to see influences, as you’ve pointed out.

        China was brutally abused by Britain. Then it was brutally abused by Japan in WWII. The ‘mindless consumers’ is a strategy of our ever more encroaching corporatocracy. Just wait until TPP and TTIP hit the fan! Education and citizen rights empowering are the cure. Mao warped both while foisting the impossible system called ‘communism’.

        I agree with your assessment of Tim Cook’s naiveté regarding China.

        China is an ENABLED ‘economic competitor’. It is enabled by both our dire desire for CHEAP goods made via slave-wage labor. It is enabled by its devotion to criminal methods of gaining IP. China creates almost nothing. I publicly champion the few actual creative endeavors I encounter from China. I also publicly should about China’s overwhelming criminal activity.

        The question of ‘partnering’ with China is interesting. I personally would run the hell away. But if Apple can establish real, reliable, legally backed licensing of IP with China, that would be interesting. I personally have no idea if or how it would work. That’s well into my own ignorance zone.

    3. I gave you a 2*, DC. Not all down voting and disagreement stems from propaganda and government control.

      I agree that China is stealing IP. That is nothing new, and “Getting out of China” won’t change that. We need to continue to work to outsmart them.

      Staying in China is actually the better choice. First, Apple needs China right now. Someday you will likely see a portion of the high-value manufacturing and assembly work return to the U.S. driven by advanced automation. But, right now, China “owns” that capability with massive quantities of labor, massive factories/towns, and key suppliers for many electronic components.

      Second, the way to break down walls is from the inside, not the outside. The biggest threat to the Chinese government is ideas – freedom, liberty…an open exchange of ideas. Once those spread it is very difficult to stop the resulting surge of change. The very capability that China is using to spy and hack – the internet – is the same capability that will eventually undermine the Chinese government. There is no way that the Chinese government can plug all of the possible avenues to the open internet, and those small holes in the dike will eventually yield to raging torrents of ideas that will change China and the rest of the world.

      Let’s hope that the change is for the better.

      1. We need to continue to work to outsmart them.

        One justification for the abominable triad of the TTP, TTIP and TSA ‘treaties’ (read ‘Corporatocracy’) is to sidestep and bludgeon China into submission. But it’s all an idiot’s game that ignores the core problem:

        We Finance China.

        Stopping that fact apparently doesn’t fit the mindset of our corporate overlord dumbasses.

        As for changing China from the inside, witness how far that gets individuals in China. Witness how far that got the MASSES in Hong Kong who are sick-to-death of China’s totalitarian bullshit, deceit and Boss-Of-You oppression.

        All I know I can do is keep yelling about it in public, for whatever good it does. It’s heartening to see my China posts get *DING*ed down in large numbers. You know what that means! I love it! 😀

    1. Cook wasted tens of millions hiring a Burberry fashionista to be a marketing chief, thinking that her self-proclaimed success in opening a Burberry store in China was the sign of great understanding of the Chinese market.

      How wrong Cook was. Apple will never be a mainstream competitor in China if it opens up an R&D (read: IP thievery depot) in China and places its stores only in the most expensive neighborhoods, apparently only to serve the corrupt Party insiders and their rich brat kids.

      1. At least Angela Ahrendts has been a neutral head of Apple retail, unlike the bastard before her: John Browett, who single-handedly demoralized all of Apple’s Store staff.

        I have to point out that being in marketing at Apple can be a tough job. Apple is the single most determined PRODUCING personality company I know of on the planet. I suppose Tesla may be Apple’s biggest rival in that respect. Marketing people, who are predominantly RELATIONAL personalities have an instinctive hatred of the producing personalities to the point of deliberately sabotaging them. The producing personalities end up being extremely wary of the cruel, subverting relational personalities and have to create intra-corporate barriers to keep them at bay.

        It’s a serious soap opera that’s common at most companies. I got to watch such a battle first hand while at Eastman Kodak. The world got to watch the bloody, disastrous aftermath in the form of bankruptcy.

        Therefore, have a kind thought for the marketing people within creative companies that are able to not just tolerate the productive, but work with them, encourage them and benefit them. That’s an accomplishment. I’ve never heard of Angela Ahrendts being a detriment to Apple (unlike Browett). That’s something good to say about her.

        1. I have only heard of three legitimate complaints about Angela Ahrendts: she is overpaid; she is invisible; and she is from Ball State. Other criticisms, such as that she is a woman, or a fashionista, are irrelevant.

          The incessant bitching about Apple leadership has a distinct flavour of bile, of the insanity of an attacking animal. Arlo Guthrie captured groupthink precisely in his epic song Alice’s Restaurant: I wanna see blood and gore and guts and veins in my teeth! Eat dead, burnt bodies!

          I won’t bother to answer any of her critics, any more than I bother to rouse myself to swat away the blue-tail flies buzzing around Tim Cook. I’ll only say that I am rooting for both of them, and I’m glad that stalwarts like Derek keep a firm grip on the flyswatter.

  2. China will keep taking Apple’s money…. and then expect more of Apple’s money.

    Sadly, Cook expects China to be like any western nation Apple does business with, and in that regard, he is terribly clueless.

    You don’t get anywhere in China by handing over more money – you get results by withholding money, and doing it painfully.

    – cancel plans for the research center.
    – curtail the $1 billion investment in Didi Chuxing
    – announce the closing of Apple Stores in China
    – work with Foxconn to move their factories to Vietnam, Cambodia or another country.

    At the same time, increase presence and footprint in Taiwan, Thailand, even Hong Kong.

    Watch china suddenly change their tune.

    They tried that once and Steve Jons played hardball (remember China Mobile and how regulators wouldn’t approve iPhones — unless the grey market from Hong Kong and Taiwan made any non-approval pointless — with Apple announcing every chance they had, how many millions of iPhones were being used in China….;-) )

    1. Yeah. For all of Mr. Cook’s savvy and devotion to making China and Apple work together, from my cynical point of view I have to believe he’s being naive about the nature of the country and its government. I worry. I’ll leave it at that.

  3. Oh and a special HI! to the *DING*bats today. You must seriously care about the jabber we post around here. That’s a compliment. That’s flattery. We THANK YOU. We APPRECIATE YOU. You make us look great!

    It’s been a good day at MDN.

    1. Yes but “Mac” would like to have a serious talk with you, complete with the usual pablum predictable and adolescent expletives, about your grammar. (He was hoping to get one of her famous strawberry rhubarb pies.)

    2. Priceless comment.
      Curry, 99% of the bilge you post here is, to quote Steven Fry; “Loose stool water, arse gravy of the worst kind.”

      The mark of an idiot is that he actually believes his own BS, and looks down on others that see him for the moron that he is.

      Between you and that twat peterbulge, honestly. I have to stay away for weeks at a time to avoid excessive exposure to the stupid.

      1. Maybe the real reason you stay away for weeks at a time is that you have a busy and productive life that demands your time, and that reading MDN comments is a seldom-indulged weakness or secret indulgence, like bingeing on reality TV shows, which specialise in bilge generated by idiots, morons, twats, and the just plain stupid, to quote your litany of insults.

        But that’s precisely why I myself read MDN comments. I no longer have an active life in computer science, being newly retired from it. But back when I was a Star, I followed Derek Currie’s practical advice and it helped with educating a community of users about security concerns. Peterblood71’s concerns informed committee meetings about procurement policy. The two of them contributed something valuable in my world. In yours they seem to have only grated.

  4. You give china an inch and they’ll take a mile.

    But you got to remember that Tim Cook is a rice queen. So he wants assess to the Asian market, for more reasons then one. Prove me wrong!!

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.