Tim Cook touts Apple’s ‘symbiotic relationship’ with China

As tensions between Beijing and Washington continue to rise, Tim Cook touted Apple’s “symbiotic relationship” with CCP-controlled China during a high-profile weekend trip to the country.

Apple CEO Tim Cook
Apple CEO Tim Cook

Thomas Barrabi for the New York Post:

Cook was reportedly greeted with applause as he took the stage at the state-sponsored China Development Forum in Beijing in what was his first in-person trip to the country since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020.

“This has been a symbiotic kind of relationship that I think we both enjoyed,” Cook said while discussing Apple’s growth in China, according to Bloomberg.

The trip represented the latest step in a high-wire act for Cook, who is aiming to maintain Apple’s operations in China without drawing the ire of US lawmakers increasingly wary of Beijing’s influence over US companies.

Apple has faced criticism for complying with Chinese censorship laws in its App Store even as it touts a commitment to data privacy and human rights.

The iPhone maker’s efforts in China were complicated in recent months by Beijing’s “Covid Zero” policy, which forced factory shutdowns that led to product shortages during the key holiday shopping season.

MacDailyNews Take: As we wrote back in 2019, pre-COVID response hysterics:

There exists a dichotomy that screams hypocrisy that is impossible to overlook:

Apple CEO Tim Cook, winner of the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ 2015 Ripple of Hope Award for “his lifelong commitment to human rights,” who subsequently took a place on the board Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights the following year, and winner of Newseum’s 2017 Free Expression Award in the Free Speech category, no less, also aids and abets China’s commitment to violating human rights with serial regularity.

Two phrases immediately spring to mind:
• Do as I say, not as I do.
• Talking the talk, but not walking the walk.

Accepting awards, plaudits, and board positions for “free speech” and “human rights” while banning publications and protest apps are tough actions to reconcile due to their diametrically opposed nature.

For how long can Tim Cook, and by extension, Apple, get away with positioning themselves as the world’s white knight while kowtowing to every whim of the Chinese authoritarian socialist censors?

This is about leadership, or lack thereof.

Obviously, in recent days, this all seems to be coming to a head, but it’s been building for years.

• Apple removes Quartz news app from App Store in China over Hong Kong coverage – October 10, 2019
• Apple kowtows to China by censoring Taiwan flag emoji – October 7, 2019
• Apple Music censors songs in China that reference Tiananmen massacre, democracy – April 9, 2019
Apple removes VPN apps from China App Store – July 29, 2017
• In bid to improve censorship, China to summon Apple execs to discuss stricter App Store oversight – April 20, 2017
• Apple removes New York Times apps from App Store in China at behest of Chinese government – January 4, 2017

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

See also:
• Tim Cook firmly latched Apple onto China’s CCP teat. What’s his plan for weaning it off? – November 2, 2022
• Apple CEO Tim Cook signed secret $275+ billion deal with China in 2016 – December 7, 2021
Tim Cook’s Apple is built in China; now it has to answer to the Chinese Communist Party – May 17, 2021

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      1. A solid display of woke can be observed from well-known author, professor and activist, Ibram X. Kendi, who believes and advocates; anti-racism needs to be combated with racism. It’s consistent with much of the woke paradigm that lazily creates groupings and prescribes sameness to all within. “All whites are___and they’ve causes this____. It presumes there’s one reason for the problem they aim to solve. In other words, any disparity points to one explanation…in this case, all disparity is a result of racism. It’s intellectually lazy, has no explanation for exceptions and denies all other reasoning. It’s more than consistent with class-struggle envy that’s been around for millennia and com-temporized with Marxism appreciation.

        It’s also religious-like (authoritarian), as the movement proclaims to know the way and if the prescription isn’t followed, negative consequences will follow…shaming, canceling, property destruction and physical harm.

  1. Where are ALLLLLLLL the old quotes from MDN lauding Apple when they were expanding into and growing China? It’s not as if China just started to have issues. MDN is just as hypocritical, if not more, than Apple. Of course Apple has skin in the game and has to be careful but MDN is just throwing stones over the fence cause it’s easy.

    All those people working on Apple’s products in factories in China are making a living, taking care of their families. So it’s not quite as simple as MDN makes it sound. I agree that there are problems with China’s government related to intellectual property, privacy and human rights. Being woke is a process of moving in the right direction, not always perfect.

    I would say Tim Cooks leadership has been exemplary navigating extremely troubled waters with much at stake. I mean his nutz are in a vice and he is handling it as well as can be expected for a $2.5 Trillion company with almost $400B in revenue.

      1. Maybe MDN would care to fact check their own work. I am a regular reader and I remember quite well MDN repeatedly praising and gloating about Apple’s imminent deals to open up distribution with China Mobile and other carriers in China. And when Apple’s revenue grew by leaps and bounds because of China, MDN was right there celebrating the stock price increases.

        Just cause you don’t want to hear the facts, doesn’t make it a lie.

          1. @ argumentative person: I don’t know why anyone would try to have a conversation with someone as uncivil as you. But for some reason I am joining your “discussion”. In case you don’t know, MDN has chosen to censor many posts with hyperlinks. Freedom of speech don’t you know.

            MDN likes to code its longstanding praise for Apple’s Chinese sales in terms like “Supercycle” and various worn out metaphors. It has been gleefully monitoring Apple’s sales expansions in China for years, always encouraging that Apple keep fully engaged selling there. Perhaps it’s the less educated xenophobes who don’t understand that all trade requires give and take. Apple is just like every other western corporation that has chosen to play the game, moving production to China in order to have access to their market. No capitalist gives a damn about government model, his mission is to maximize profit. Raise your hand if you think Apple would be where it is in profitability without playing nice with non-democratic nations all over the planet.

            MDN has always slavishly hyped any news that helps bump up the precious AAPL stock value, even if the majority of new unit sales comes directly from China. It repeatedly parroted COVID news from China while the usual trolls on the site were taking potshots at Trump’s CDC director in good ol’ Democratic Republic (don’t call it a democracy!) US of A, looking hard for any news that would suggest Apple was able to keep their China sales up during the disruptions.

            I will separately attempt to paste a link to prior MDN posts gleefully reporting how wonderful it is that Apple is selling well in China. It will probably be caught in MDN’s crude spam filter.

        1. MDN can’t keep its selfish stories straight. The anonymous coward site owner blatantly censors free speech while claiming only his chosen few deifiied idols can fix other sites that have mostly competent moderators.

          MDN glorifies Apple, but makes money off Google Ads. The few trolls he doesn’t censor take potshots at anyone who works for the greater good while MDN constantly has its hands out for donations.

          Jobs and Cook both worked hard to access China for cheap labor and to sell finished products. Just like every other capitalist on the planet.

          Instead of proposing increased regulatory oversight to ensure China isn’t harming US citizens, this site encourages xenophobic comments hypocritically interspersed with whining that Apple products cost too much.

          MDN’s trite takes , hypocrisy, and obvious heavy handed slanting of all discussion have made this site a waste of time. You won’t get any decent analysis here that you can’t get from a professional website.

          1. So, if “free speech” actually existed on a private website, which it doesn’t, your comment would still be here – and it is – so you’re wrong there, Einstein.

            If you knew even one iota about the online advertising market, you’d know that there is no choice. Google monopolized the industry over a decade ago and has been abusing it ever since (but nothing was ever done about it because Google contributed millions to Obama’s presidential election campaigns). More info:

            Now, you’ve learned something.

            So, how much do you contribute to help MDN’s operations? Zero, would be my guess. Or about as much sense as you contribute with your comments. You probably adblock, too. Freeloader. You sound like you’re a Windows / Android tard.

            Where has MDN “encouraged” any type of comments? Links, or it didn’t happen. Just like your empty claims of “censorship.”

            Seems like MDN’s takes regarding China, the CCP, and their simpering little pet dog Tim Cook have hit their mark when it comes to Sammy the rocket scientist, bless his/her/its heart.

            A parting gift for you, Sammy:

  2. Symbiosis of a mutually beneficial interaction in which both symbionts contribute to each other’s support, be it mutualistic, commensalistic, or parasitic.

    Certainly BOTH leaders feed off each other and Cook is guilty of censorship in China; condoning civil and human rights abuses of citizens with different religions and architect of massive slave labor. And all for what? INSATIABLE GREED for MORE and MORE MONEY!!

    Where is the outrage from Leftists and 60 Minutes over slave labor, where is outrage over greedy Republican big corporations and Amnesty International activists for abuse and imprisonment of innocent citizens?


    Cook must replaced with a CEO that has a pair and stripped of all his human rights awards now a global joke and demeans true champions of human rights…

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