Peter Thiel: Apple’s relationship with China is a ‘real problem’

Venture capitalist, early Facebook investor, and conservative donor Peter Thiel criticized big U.S. tech companies, including Apple and Google for being too close to China. At a virtual event held Tueesday by the Richard Nixon Foundation, Thiel said Apple was unlikely to confront China because of its massive supply chain to assemble iPhones and other products in the country and criticized Google for its work on artificial intelligence, mainly around the company’s artificial intelligence work with Chinese universities.

Quality assurance, iMac production, China (Image via Apple's Supplier Responsibility 2020 Progress Report)
Quality assurance, iMac production, China (Image via Apple’s Supplier Responsibility 2020 Progress Report)

Kif Leswing for CNBC:

“Since everything in China is a civilian-military fusion, Google was effectively working with the Chinese military, not with the American military,” Thiel said. He also sad that Google “insiders” told him that they worked with the Chinese because “they figured they might as well give the technology out the front door, because if they didn’t give it – it would get stolen anyway.”

Thiel also said that Apple was unlikely to confront China because of its massive supply chain to manufacture iPhones and other products in the country. He noted that other big technology companies like Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft don’t have as extensive business interests in the country, in some cases because the Chinese government has restricted what they can do there.

He called for the U.S. to put a “lot of pressure” and scrutiny on Apple because of its labor supply chain in the country. ″Apple is probably the one that’s structurally a real problem, because the whole iPhone supply chain gets made from China,” Thiel said. “Apple is one that has real synergies with China.”

MacDailyNews Note: Thiel was posed the following question by Robert C. O’Brien who served as the 28th Assistant to the President for U.S. National Security Affairs:

O’Brien: So in Silicon Valley, we’ve got, it’s a very woke industry in general about what’s happening here. And yet it’s not very woke in what’s happening to the Uyghurs, what’s happening to the Tibetians, what’s happening to the democrats with a small “d” in Hong Kong, the threats against Taiwan where you’ve got the indigenous people of Taiwan. So, there seems to be less concern about those folks in Silicon Valley and industry in general than the concern for woke progressive politics here. How are they surprised and how do they get their conscience back when it comes to folks around the world? Maybe even victims of environmental disaster?

Thiel: There are all sorts of things one can say. If you’re concerned about climate change maybe the tariffs the Trump Administration put on China were way too small, they should be much higher, even the carbon tax should be higher because they use coal power. Even the electric cars in China are dirty, they’re dirtier than oil power cars than China. But somehow it’s very difficult to talk about this stuff coherently.

I had a set of conversations with some of the Google people in the deep mind AI technology, “is your AI being used to run the concentration camps in Xinjiang?” and “Well, We don’t know and don’t ask any questions.” You have this almost magical thinking that by pretending everything is fine, that’s how you engage and have a conversation. And you make the world better. And it’s some combination of wishful thinking. It’s useful idiots, you know, it’s CCP fifth columnist collaborators. So it’s some super position of all these things.

But I think if you think of it ideologically or in terms of human rights or something like that, I’m tempted to say it’s just profoundly racist. It’s like saying that because they look different, they’re not white people, they don’t have the same rights. It’s something super wrong. But I don’t quite know how you unlock that.

The full transcript of The Nixon Seminar featuring special guest Peter Thiel is here.

15 Comments

  1. If one is a shareholder, the loop is around your neck too. There are many issues of concern beyond what Thiel mentioned and shareholders are complicit.

    It also highlights Cook’s complete SJW hypocrisy as he often proclaims how American are to live, while rubbing his hands with glee as the China honey keeps flowing…apparently ignoring their GREAT and broad malfeasance.

    Wouldn’t it be an amazing surprise if he put the same energy into leveraging China? A difficult and potentially costly task, I know, but as long as he “just” social-justice-scolds America, he talks out of both sides of his mouth.

  2. Hard corporatist Thiel feigns ignorance but his subtext has to be understood: “If we eventually have to go to war with China anyway, well, let’s go; My investments in defense contractors will make me even richer.”

  3. I’ll say it again. Apple needs to build its supply chain out of China. Over the next five years be able to make everything for world markets outside of China. Yes, of course they can do that. They would supply power like no company the world has ever seen.

    Secondly, they slow marketing and supporting and launching products and simply let the China market turn flat and burn out over time. Get off the finances – the Chinese crack – and move on no longer needing them in finances or for manufacturing.

    But the all mighty dollar the stock price the power the greed. It’s like LOTR’s, the ring of power is just too strong for Cook and company to deny. Google and other blind eye people. It’s really sick and ironically, it was Nixon who opened up Pandora’s box with China, and we are wreaking what we have sewn… for one reason or other Trump and his admin get the evil monster China and hard line President Xi are to the US and this the world. Biden seems willing to go all Obama admin (that’s his team anyway) and start caving one issue after another after another… Wow… But Joe isn’t pulling the strings – that much is obvious – which begs the question, who is?

    1. I agree though how practical that is is anyones guess I fear if at all possible it will take much longer and it raises the question of whether they will be able to sell in the Chinese market thereafter. The even more complex aspect is their commitment to Taiwanese companies and not only the difficulties in where they produce their technology (much of it in China right now) but what happens when China inevitably takes over Taiwan whenever that might happen. What happens to the intellectual property, the knowledge the management of processes and the businesses generally even if they end up producing outside of China or Taiwan in that circumstance and how much US and other’s intellectual property and technology is absorbed by China in that circumstance and how much will ironically the West be cut off from it and for what period. Scary thoughts but. cooperation is probably just putting off the inevitable and making it more of a catastrophe when it comes to fruition. But hey Cook is probably hoping to be retired by then.

    2. Vietnam, Malaysia, India are working on it, but China has a 40 to 50 year lead on them. China has been building, expanding and refining the infrastructure for manufacturing and assembly for the last 40 to 50 years; roads, harbors, airports, customs facilities, railroads, power plants, pipelines for water, fuels, waste… ENTIRE CITIES have been built just to support the factories. ONE Foxconn plant (city) can have a “population” of around 200,000 to 300,000 during peak production season. That includes the actual factory workers plus the support staff to run a city for the factory workers. How can anyone compete with China? Where is the labor? The cheap labor. India? It is gonna take waaayyy more than five years. I’m thinking a generation or longer.

      1. Hi TowerTone, nice to see you again. I hope you are doing well. Since you and Ronner has asked similar question I’ll reiterate the answers that I’ve given before at this site.

        One of the blueprints I use for (current) civilized behaviour is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In terms of recommending countries Ronner, there are many lists comparing countries that can help. My personal favourite is the Global Peace Index, which releases a report yearly, but there are others.

        I do not see how the country I currently live at has anything to do with the topic at hand.

        1. Maybe Canada, where over-reaching, freedom sapping officials will make you feel safer…for your own good, because you are unable to tend to your own life. And, it’s a place where they have shown a penchant for weeding out the religious principles and the beholders.

          Or, maybe you’d prefer the UK…where the religious can expect (and apparently deserve) the heavy-hand of the overstepping authorities?

          https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9432981/Moment-police-shut-Good-Friday-service-Polish-church-London-breaching-Covid-rules.html

    1. What civilized country do you recommend? In which country do you live?
      Or maybe at the crux of your statement is the meaning of “civilized.” Please define.

  4. https://chinatribunal.com

    “Thousands of innocents have been killed to order having the physical integrity of their beings – their bodies – cut open while still alive for their kidneys, livers, hearts, lungs, cornea and skin to be removed and turned into commodities for sale.
    Doctors killed those innocent people simply because they pursued truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance and lived lives of healthy exercise and meditation that was seen as dangerous to the interests and objectives of the totalitarian state of the People’s Republic of China.”

    victim for victim and death for death, the gassing of the Jews by the Nazis, the massacre by the Khmer Rouge or the butchery to death of the Rwanda Tutsis may not be worse than cutting out the hearts, other organs and the very souls of living, blameless, harmless, peaceable people.

    any who interact in any substantial way with the PRC including:
    • Doctors and medical institutions; 58
    • Industry, and businesses, most specifically airlines, travel companies, financial services businesses, law firms and pharmaceutical and insurance companies together with individual tourists,
    • Educational establishments;
    • Arts establishments
    should now recognise that they are interacting with a criminal state.

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