Apple's Tim Cook made secret deal with China worth $275B in 2016: report
The agreement included a commitment from Apple to help boost China’s economy through investments
Apple CEO Tim Cook signed a secret five-year agreement with China worth an estimated $275 billion in 2016 as the tech giant worked to ease regulatory pressure in the key market, according to a report Tuesday.
The agreement included a commitment from Apple to help boost China’s economy through investments and other business initiatives, The Information reported, citing interviews and internal documents. At the time, officials in Beijing purportedly felt Apple was not doing enough to aid the country’s economic development.
The deal was completed as Apple faced a potential regulatory crackdown that could have harmed its business in China, including key services such as Apple Pay and iCloud. Cook was personally involved in negotiations and made several trips to China to lobby government officials on Apple’s behalf.
Apple received legal exemptions from regulatory action. In exchange, Apple agreed to a host of investments, including worker training, commitments to help Chinese manufacturers develop "the most advanced manufacturing technologies" and use Chinese-made components and other concessions meant to appease local authorities.
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Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the report.
China has emerged as a key growth market for Apple in recent years. The company’s sales in the greater China region surged 83% in fiscal fourth quarter results released in October.