Tim Cook firmly latched Apple onto China’s CCP teat. What’s his plan for weaning it off?

In 2016, Apple’s “Operations Genius,” Tim Cook, secretly signed a secret agreement with the human rights-abusing Chinese Communist Party estimated to be worth more than $275 billion. Cook promised that Apple would do its part to develop China’s economy and technological prowess via infrastructure investments, business deals, and worker training in exchange for the CCP quashing its surge of what promised to be crippling regulatory actions against Apple, The Information reported last December.

Xi Jinping walks Tim Cook on a leash

Many years before that, some two decades ago, it was Cook who spearheaded Apple’s move to make products “Designed in California,” but “Assembled in China.”

Since Cook, 62, made his $275 billion secret deal with the CCP five years ago, and as he now nears retirement age, Apple has made precious little headway in diversifying its production away from capricious, authoritarian China.

Why?

If the $275 billion wasn’t to buy Apple half a decade to free itself by diversifying its production away from China, mitigating risk, what was it for?

Bloomberg News:

With little warning, China locked down the world’s largest iPhone factory on Wednesday, declaring the zone around the Zhengzhou Foxconn Technology Group complex off-limits to combat a local Covid-19 outbreak. It’s the last thing Apple Inc. needed.

The abrupt move is expected to further disrupt a factory already grappling with an outcry over an on-site coronavirus outbreak, worker exodus and enforced quarantine. Local authorities said Wednesday that they’ll sterilize Foxconn’s campus and the surrounding areas in the next three days and send N95 masks to workers, another sign of the government’s tightening grip.

It served up a stark reminder of the dangers for Apple of relying on a vast production machine centered on China in a time of unpredictable lockdowns and uncertain trade relations… Apple is by far the largest business to adopt China as its factory floor.

Much now depends on the length of the lockdown, which is intended to last for a week until Nov. 9, but officials elsewhere in China have extended such actions for weeks, sometimes months, at a time.

MacDailyNews Take: Longtime Apple analyst Gene Munster on Tuesday estimated that it would take as long as a decade for Apple to reduce its current near-total reliance on China to meaningful levels.

At the current rate, it doesn’t look like Apple has 10 months, much less 10 years to extricate itself from China.

Tim Cook painted Apple into this corner. It worked marvelously well, until it didn’t.

A publicly traded company CEO’s job is to act in the best interest of its shareholders.

But, Apple’s operations don’t scream “genius” today. They scream “RISK!” But, you know, the market just loooves risk*.

One year ago today, Apple’s share price was $151.28. It closed today at $145.03. Dead money. Why? Mostly Apple’s dependence on China which is terminally obsessed with sparing twenty-three-year-olds** a case of the sniffles in a quixotic quest for the “zero-COVID” pipe dream. (You’d think interning dissidents into concentration camps would take up too much of the CCP’s time. Alas, no.)

Apple shareholders and, in turn, Apple’s rubber-stamping Board of Lackeys, should hold one person responsible if this spiraling China dilemma continues deteriorate: Timothy D. Cook.

So, what’s Cook’s plan for getting the company out of this boxed-in predicament into which he placed it? Certainly Apple shareholders have a right to know. Hopefully, Cook has a better plan than simply cashing out and dumping this nightmarish quandary into the lap of Apple’s next CEO.

*Dripping sarcasm
**The average age of a Foxconn worker is 23

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39 Comments

  1. It’s pretty obvious that Cook has decided to stage a dog and pony show of moving production out of China, but far too slowly for it to be meaningful. He’s planning on kicking the can down the road to the next guy or gal. He’ll retire if/when the shit hits the fan and, if he’s ever asked by the rare real journalist, he’ll claim that, hey, he was “working diligently on diversifying production” as he runs for high office in the People’s Republic of Kalifornia.

    1. His solution to being over dependent on a hostile communist human rights atrocity regime (ie china)? To move production to ANOTHER hostile communist hum rights atrocity regime (Vietnam).

      At least he moved some production to India but that he has not moved ANY iPhone/iPad/mainstream Mac production to the US is more of his continued failure of operations.

      This is business 101, diversify. He failed business 101 practices, and failed the shareholders. He should be fired and personally sued for failing his fiduciary duty in protecting shareholder assets by not following business 101 diversification practices.

    1. Double mask, double glove, spray it with Lysol, stand six feet away, never go outside, never go to school, let your grandparents/parents die alone in a nursing home wondering why you’ve forsaken them, and make sure you get several COVID “vaccine” jabs and you’ll be just fine…

      …until you suddenly drop dead due to a totally unexplainable, infinitely unsolvable mystery which could never, ever, ever be caused by myocarditis and/or pericarditis from experimental mRNA injections, of course not.

      1. lol.

        Newsflash, Nov. 3: COVID ‘vaccine’ and face diaper pusher Julie Powell, ‘Julie And Julia’ writer who on October 1st wished death on the unvaccinated, dies ‘suddenly’ at 49

        I’m sorry Julie didn’t live to see the BIG BEAUTIFUL MAGA TSUNAMI wash these shores clean in just 120 hours.

        But, hey, Karma does what Karma does.

        Thoughts and prayers.

    1. “infrastructure investments, business deals, and worker training”

      Looks good in my book. Nothing dramatic.
      I am confident that board and Tim act in a best interest of shareholders. Yes these interest do not always align with someones wild imaginations of a perfect world, but its not a work for Apple and its SH to make the world better alone. Chinease need to man up and do it themselves as well.

  2. I keep checking in with 9to5Mac, AppleInsider, etc. looking for insightful, cutting commentary like this, but all I ever get are endless corporate tongue baths from those type of sites that seem to value their Apple Park special event passes far more than their readership.

    BRAVO, MACDAILYNEWS for always telling it like it is!

  3. Once Apple’s focus shifted from building great products in order to empower people to market share and stock prices they needed China for its potential customers and cheap labor.

    Nothing wrong with market share and making money. But when that becomes the measure of success, innovation and product quality become secondary. Navigating Chinese political mine field to ensure market share and profits has changed Apple forever and not for the better on many levels.

    Listen to Steve Jobs explain this business reality.

  4. I love MDN!

  5. After reading this, I feel uneasy using Apple Products now due to Apple’s ties with the CCP and shows Apple care more about profits than the quality of their products, I feel that with all of us continuing to use Apple products, we’re all indirectly supporting communist China.

  6. Wow! Look at this haul of testosterone and alternate reality. Do any of you people run an international business? If you did, you would know how silly your comments look. Let’s review this goofy array of contributions here…

    We’ll tell the Chinese how to run their country. It’s clear Theydon’t have a clue.
    Apple should just pick up their Chinese pieces and plug them in somewhere else. Why isn’t Tim smart enough to do this?
    Tim is a fake business man. Manipulating the stockholders while really wallowing in his money grubbing incompetence.
    I’m so troubled by Apple’s association with China I don’t know if I want to buy their products anymore.
    Oh, the stock is going nowhere. It’s down to $145 a share. I want to scream and insult Cook for not bringing perpetual 10% stock growth.
    I’m a MAGA idiot gloating over the death of someone who was as warped in their left views as I am on my right views and it’s fun.

    and the worst, the mental zeros who run the Mac Daily News, who perpetually trumpet all things Apple as a collection of Jesus products, conveniently turn on a dime, spit venom and publish their stupid Photoshop picture of Cook on a leash help by XI. Is this site run by complete idiots?

    I have made is much money on AAPL stock while Cook has been running this company it could fall to $100 a share and I could still dump it and be way ahead. Thank you, Mr. Cook. If you are really so offended that Apple had the audacity to be one of the thousands of companies conducting business operations in the Peoples Republic of China, go buy a Surface (where are those assembled?) and buy a flip phone then look in the mirror and tell yourself what a smart person you are, totally in sync while clearly the rest of the work is out of step.

    Have any of you clowns been to China? Do you realize there are no single family homes, they have cities with populations the size of New York, Chicago and Los Angeles COMBINED living in high rises and that this disease, sweeping through that density would crater their health system in days? They may have chosen the wrong way to deal with the disease but it is their country, not yours, and have to figure out how to work through this thing. I have many friends there and can tell you they are critical of the governments handling of this thing and ultimately, THEY, NOT YOU, will bring the changes there. Freedom is a powerful elixir and passing freely among the citizens in China.

    I know it hurts to think deeply, boys and girls, but you’re hooting from your Macintoshes about how smart you are and stupid Tim Cook and his Board are is really f’ing embarrassing to read. Learn a bit about the international business system and how many companies are connected to the Chinese economy and why.

    1. Whatever, you obtuse CCP bootlicker apologist.

      The issue here is clear (but you’re too stupid to understand it, even though it’s the headline):

      Tim Cook firmly latched Apple onto China’s CCP teat. What’s his plan for weaning it off?

      Shareholders deserve, and have the right, to know, since they own the company and employ Tim Cook and the BoL.

      1. Sorry there, Hee Haw, I don’t live in Austin. I am a business owner, however, and know how to read a corporate report to be able to understand company profitability and that when you make changes to company strategy, you don’t put them on a billboard. Oh, I also recognize a mouth breathing Visigoth when I encounter one, as well.
        Have a nice day, pal.

    2. The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

      Seems MDN hit the mark squarely yet again.

      Tim Cook is responsible for Apple’s dependence on – and helping massively to fund – CCP China.

      When CCP China invades Taiwan or unleashes/leaks another manufactured virus because the U.S. has a president they don’t own, and/or suddenly closes down Apple’s production factories without notice, where will Apple be?

      In the ditch, where Tim Cook drove it.

          1. It’s an honest question, and I’d like to point out that it could be a mere typo, as the sentence “Actually, MDN is an international business.” entails a whole definition. Saying something like “Steve Jack runs an international business” also makes sense, most of us here would know that business is MDN.

            So the question still remains, what international business does MDN run?

    3. So, if Tim Cook had put all of the Apple production in the apartheid South Africa in 1980 and Apple’s fortunes were totally tied to the success of the apartheid regime there, TEXZEN would say, FU to anyone who says there is anything wrong with South Africa and Apple knows how to do business and South Africa is the most civilized country in Africa and they know best how to run their country. Got that. TEXZEN loves supporting all the various political models out there.

      1. Awesome! You know what I think, what I would say and what I love. What an incredible intellect. You even avoided and misspelled words! Let me know what trillion dollar business you are running, BOZO, so I can invest some money into the stock. Thanks for providing me with such enjoyment today.

    4. Unlike you I don’t want to support a communist government that spies on their citizens snd Apple clearly has no problem doing grubby “deals” with the CCP, all in the name of profits to hell with human rights and democracy be damned.

      1. How much of what you own was made in China? Ready to wean yourself off of imported products totally or are you just a hypocritical chest beating yahoo that like his Cheerios better after he’s drooled in them?

        Think and grow. Latch onto that.

        1. How much hydrocarbon do you use? You certainly know that oil is evil and don’t use any because Al Gore says it is destroying the earth. How much oil product do you use, asshole?

  7. I am pretty sure Daniel Eran Dilger and Horace Deidu can explain how this is all brilliant and Tim Cook and Al Gore brilliantly implemented this marriage with China because the both prefer communism over the awful system created by the Founders of America. Terrible Constitution and all that Christian morality and responsibility and notions of freedom and American sovereignty. Better to vote for communism. Hey, they appreciate bicycles and don’t have many parking garages.

  8. For years I have emailed Tim Cook to diversity and build outside of China, leaving China builds for the China market, and build the WW needs elsewhere. Silence, and silence in Apple’s changing anything. Now it’s too little but not too late. It will take years and years to make the transition, but it’s at least begun.

    Apple should be doing what others have done for decades. Regional facilities for regional distribution, fending off regional politics, wars, or CCP “someone sneezed, okay lock-down time” games…

    Locking down, opening up. This does NOTHING to stop the spread of airborne viruses. Period. Never has never will. People spread it with their families and friends regardless. It isn’t stop-able.

    That said, the CCP seems to be using constant lockdowns as a conditioning method of it’s people. It fan use COVID as a reason that won’t rile up enough of it’s current workforce, but for children and the next generation it’ll just be that they simply do as told regarding anything. COVID is just the excuse to work over the minds of it’s people.

    And then this lockdown with Apple? Likely very political and pressure-based on Cook and Apple. We shall see how this plays out. Probably another side-deal with the CCP for another decade… Ugh… “Please tighten the noose around my neck a little tighter please.” says Cook.

  9. I find the leash, however fake, quite apt. … It also seems that if China gets offended, it can threaten to disallow/discontinue access by the offending Western nation’s [in this case America’s] privately-owned big businesses to China’s huge consumer base, the world’s singularly largest.

    Predictably, the said big businesses’ corporate lobbyists will unleash their fullest manipulation efforts on their home-nation’s [i.e. the American] government to capitulate to Beijing’s demands. And China’s control over its own industry/business sector thus market may even give it an additional edge over Western free-market nations.

    Anyone who doubts the potent persuasion of huge business interests here need to consider how high-level elected officials can become crippled by implicit/explicit threats to transfer or eliminate jobs and capital investment, thus economic stability, if corporate ‘requests’ aren’t met.

    It’s a crippling that’s made even worse by a blaring news-media that’s permitted to be naturally critical of incumbent governments, especially in regards to job and capital transfers and economic weakening.

    Really, why wouldn’t China take advantage of this Western-way weakness?

    Unlike China’s, American and Canadian (and likely British) governance is heavily steered and therefore disadvantaged by corporate interests, sometimes through economic intimidation (and I’m not just talking about huge party donations come election time).

    It’s as though the elected heads are meant to represent huge money interests over those of the working citizenry and poor. Accordingly, major political decisions will normally foremost reflect what is in the influential corporations’ best interests.

  10. I’m rethinking using Apple products due to this revelation snd can’t in good conscience continue to use Apple products anymore with Apple so reliant on China, in particular the CCP so it is with a heavy heart that I will be going to Android, in particular the Google Pixel 7 Pro.

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