Apple CEO Tim Cook meets with China amid Hong Kong app controversy

Apple CEO Tim Cook met with a Chinese regulator days after the tech giant removed an app that tracked the movements of Hong Kong police.

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Apple has not said what the meeting was about. Cook was in Beijing for an annual meeting at Tsinghua University. He meets with Chinese regulators multiple times per year.


China’s State Administration for Market Regulation said in a statement that Xiao Yaqing, director of the State Administration of Markets, met with Cook to discuss a wide range of topics including investment and business development in China, protecting consumer rights and fulfilling corporate social responsibility.

Apple on Oct. 9 removed the app, which allowed Hong Kong pro-democracy protestors to track police, from its App Store after an op-ed in the state-run People’s Daily called out the tech giant.

"Is Apple guiding Hong Kong thugs?" the paper asked. "Apple jumped into this on its own and mixed together business with politics and commercial activity with illegal activities."

The following day, Cook, according to Bloomberg, sent a memo to employees stating that the decision to remove the app was because it was being used to "maliciously target individual officers for violence" and "victimize individuals and property where no police are present."

China is a key market for Apple. Nearly 18 percent of the company’s $58 billion of revenue in the second quarter came from Greater China. Its smartphone market share in the country fell to 5.8 percent in the second quarter from 6.4 percent the year prior, research firm Canalys said.

Cook has repeatedly lobbied President Trump to get Apple’s products shielded from the tariffs on goods made in China.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Trade Representative said Apple “failed to show that the imposition of additional duties on the particular product would cause severe economic harm to you or other U.S. interests.” Tariffs are scheduled to hit five Chinese-made parts for its new Mac Pro computer starting in December.

Apple has argued the tariffs will “result in lower U.S. growth and competitiveness and higher prices for U.S. consumers.”

Trump has a simple solution. Telling the company to make their products in the U.S.A.


“Apple prices may increase because of the massive Tariffs we may be imposing on China - but there is an easy solution where there would be ZERO tax, and indeed a tax incentive,” the president tweeted in September. “Make your products in the United States instead of China. Start building new plants now.”