Tim Cook gives surprise keynote at China cybersecurity conference

From the Associated Press’ account of the World Internet Conference opening:

Apple CEO Tim Cook told the gathering as it opened Sunday that his company was proud to work with Chinese partners to build a “common future in cyberspace”…

Cook’s speech drew a big crowd. He said the company supports more than 5 million jobs in China, including 1.8 million software developers who have earned more than 112 billion yuan ($17 billion).

It’s Apple’s responsibility to ensure that “technology is infused with humanity,” he said, avoiding mention of any sensitive topics.

My take: Cook is pretty accomplished at walking the tightrope in China, one of Apple’s largest markets and its main source of cheap labor and components. He’s taken some heat from both sides of the aisle in Congress for complying with Chinese censorship demands (see here). But Cook doesn’t have to love the Chinese to do business with them—or to sell them a ton of iPhones. Besides, Apple knows a thing or two about building walled gardens.

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