Apple CEO Tim Cook signed a secret agreement with China in 2016, promising to invest $ 275 billion in the country over five years – This was reported by The Information website yesterday (Tuesday). Cook signed the agreement five years ago during a visit to China to ensure that China does not regulate Apple’s actions after banning its use of iTunes and threatening to do the same to the company’s other services, such as the App Store, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple did not respond to a request for comment.
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Apple’s relationship with China is important for two reasons: it is the largest maker of iPhones, and one of its major markets. In October, research firm Counterpoint Research reported that Apple had overtaken local Vivo to become the most successful smartphone maker in the country for the first time since 2015. Apple was willing to invest large sums to maintain a presence in the country, while excluding competing technology companies such as Google, Meta and Twitter.
Apple’s close ties with China have drawn criticism in the past: the New York Times reported earlier this year that the company had agreed to reduce privacy protections for iPhone, iPad and Mac users in the country to please the Beijing government. The Times also reported that 55,000 apps have been removed from the AppStore in China since 2017 – most of which are now available to users in other countries. For example, in 2019 Apple released the HKmap.live app, which was aimed at anti-government protesters in Hong Kong.
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