“One of the world’s largest technology conglomerates has amassed significant power and billions of dollars from its deals in China, a country often firmly opposed to the values the company’s leadership regularly espouses domestically,” Eric Lieberman and Ryan Pickrell write for The Daily Caller. “Apple Inc. made headlines recently for capitulating to the Chinese government while its CEO argues against President Donald Trump’s agenda at home.”
“However, the company gave way to Beijing decades ago when it moved much of its manufacturing and assembly processes to China from other parts of Asia” Lieberman and Pickrell write. “Pursuing profit and power, the company made arrangements with the only country that could help it become what it is today, even if doing so potentially conflicted with certain company values.”
“Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, who defends progressive liberal causes, has made significant concessions to Beijing over the past year, in some cases contributing to the suppression of human rights and internet freedom. Apple has repeatedly yielded ground to the Chinese government, giving in to its demands, even as China engages in some unethical business practices to drive the tech company out of the country and reduce its market share,” Lieberman and Pickrell write. “Cook, who sits on the board of a human rights foundation, played an important role in moving Apple’s production and assembly activities to China. Since Apple jumped in bed with China, it has made billions of dollars in profits and built an enormous technology empire.”
“Apple, specifically its leadership, has tried to present the company as more than just a capitalist corporate giant. Apple’s CEO has advocated for human rights and progressive agendas by arguing against the transgender ban, the travel ban, and other Trump policies,” Lieberman and Pickrell write. “But given the opportunity, the company chose a clear path to more power and revenue by making a deal with China.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote last week, “It’s quite the razor-thin tightrope that Tim Cook, Apple CEO, privacy proponent, and Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ Board of Directors Member, has to walk.”
China is critical for Apple in every way from sales to product assembly, so Apple continues to kowtow to China. With Apple’s strong stance – in other places of the world – on users’ rights and privacy, it’s a bad look for the company and a tough tightrope that Tim Cook is trying to walk. — MacDailyNews, July 29, 2017
If we were Tim Cook, we’d be pushing manufacturing out of China as quickly as possible and into places that are more in tune with with Apple’s values of privacy, human rights, and the environment. Call it “Hypocrisy Mitigation.” We’d even take a temporary hit on margins – gasp! – in exchange for goodwill.
Tim Cook’s comments regarding China’s latest censorship effort during Apple’s Q317 earnings conference call with analysts on Tuesday, August 1, 2017:
Turning to China, let me comment on what I assumed is at the root of your question about this VPN issue. Let me just address that head on. The central government in China back in 2015 started tightening the regulations associated with VPN apps, and we have a number of those on our store. Essentially, as a requirement for someone to operate a VPN, they have to have a license from the government there. Earlier this year, they began a renewed effort to enforce that policy, and we were required by the government to remove some of the VPN apps from the App Store that don’t meet these new regulations. We understand that those same requirements are on other app stores, and as we checked through that, that is the case.
Today there are actually still hundreds of VPN apps on the App Store, including hundreds by developers that are outside China, and so there continues to be VPN apps available. We would obviously rather not remove the apps, but like we do in other countries, we follow the law wherever we do business. And we strongly believe that participating in markets and bringing benefits to customers is in the best interest of the folks there and in other countries as well. And so we believe in engaging with governments even when we disagree.
And in this particular case, now back to commenting on this one, we’re hopeful that over time the restrictions that we’re seeing are loosened because innovation really requires freedom to collaborate and communicate, and I know that that is a major focus there. And so that’s what we’re seeing from that point of view.
Some folks have tried to link it to the U.S. situation last year, and they’re very different. In the case of the U.S., the law in the U.S. supported us, which was very clear. In the case of China, the law is also very clear there. And, like we would if the U.S. changed the law here, we’d have to abide by them in both cases; that doesn’t mean that we don’t state our point of view in the appropriate way. We always do that.
China’s dream is Apple’s nightmare: U.S. tech firms face risks as they quietly bow to China’s censorship and technology demands – August 9, 2017
As Apple’s services business grows in China, so does its censorship risk – August 3, 2017
Joining Apple, Amazon’s China cloud service bows to censors – August 1, 2017
There are two sides to Apple’s China story – July 31, 2017
Apple issues statement regarding removal of VPN apps from China App Store – July 31, 2017
Apple removes VPN apps from China App Store – July 29, 2017
Apple sets up China data center to meet new cybersecurity rules – July 12, 2017
Analyst: China iPhone sales are pivotal for Apple – June 26, 2017
In bid to improve censorship, China to summon Apple execs to discuss stricter App Store oversight – April 20, 2017
Will Apple CEO Tim Cook stand up to China over App Store censorship? – April 19, 2017
Beijing cyber regulators to summon Apple over live streaming apps – April 19, 2017
Apple goes on charm offensive in China with red iPhones and a visit by CEO Tim Cook – March 24, 2017
Apple CEO Tim Cook defends globalization, walks tightrope on privacy in rare public speech in China – March 18, 2017
Apple to spend $507 million to set up two more research centers, boost investment in in China – March 17, 2017
Apple removes New York Times apps from App Store in China at behest of Chinese government – January 4, 2017
China dethrones U.S. to become the largest market in the world for iOS App Store revenue – October 20, 2016
Apple to set up second R&D center in China – October 12, 2016
Apple’s first R&D Center in China will develop hardware, employ 500 – September 29, 2016
Apple CEO Cook ‘pretty confident’ of soon resuming movie and book sales in China – May 3, 2016
Apple’s biggest China problem: iPhone’s strong encryption – May 2, 2016
The New Yorker: What Apple has to fear from China – April 30, 2016
Carl Icahn out of Apple over worries about China’s ‘dictatorship’ government – April 29, 2016
China could slam door on Apple, says top global risk expert – April 25, 2016
China’s increasing censorship hits Apple, but Apple might punch back – April 22, 2016
China shutters Apple’s online book and movie services – April 22, 2016
Apple CEO Tim Cook joins Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ board of directors – April 6, 2016
[Attribution: MacSurfer. Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]