Jack Nicas: How China made Apple the world’s most valuable company

The New York Times has turned a quickly-forgotten 4,000-word front-pager into a must-hear podcast on today’s The Daily.

Apple’s Bet on China (32 minutes)

My take: What the Times’ investigative team turned up is so much less interesting than the story Nicas tells about Tim Cook’s 25-year relationship with the People’s Republic of China. A fascinating yarn, well spun and nicely illustrated with audio soundbites. If you want just the headlines, here’s Nicas on CNBC last month:

See also: Tim Cook says Chinese iPhones are secure, the NYT says they aren’t (video)

15 Comments

  1. Fred Stein said:
    Nothing new. Full of distortion. Just one:

    At 24 seconds in, ” About two years ago Tim Cook mastered minded…”

    Before Tim Cook joined Apple, the PC industry had completely turned to overseas outsourcing.

    Surely Nicas knows this. Never let the facts get in the way of your story.

    It’s easy to blame China and Big Tech. Demagogues on the right and left do this all time. But we all love to consume lower cost goods and reap higher profits in our investments.

    9
    June 14, 2021
  2. Jerry Doyle said:
    “…. An investigation from The New York Times offers an extensive inside look at how Apple has given in to escalating demands from the Chinese authorities. One of the compromises Apple made to China was storing its Chinese customers’ data on servers controlled by the Chinese government.”

    For those who have done business in China, you may have heard the old joke that goes like this: “Xi Jinping is sitting in his car reading a newspaper, when his driver interrupts him and says, ‘Comrade, there’s a problem. The sign says to turn Left for communism, turn right for capitalism. Which way should I go?’ Xi tells his driver, ‘There’s no problem. Just signal left and go right.’”

    This is no Apple problem NYT. This is a USA leadership failure involving both political parties believing erroneously that admittance of China into the WTO would somehow foolishly lead a self-serving authoritarian regime to become more democratize. Get off of Apple’s case & target your outrage where it deserves to be targeted: toward the political leadership of both US parties in trusting that the PRC ruled by the CCP would abdicate their privileged authority & wealth to the Chinese masses.

    4
    June 14, 2021
  3. Gregg Thurman said:
    I’d like the ability to silence click bait reporting. Does that make me evil. If I were Apple the NYT would say yes.

    0
    June 14, 2021
  4. Find me a foreign company, competitive in the Chinese market, not required to form a partnership with a Chinese firm or have their designs/patents stolen or othwise comply with PRC laws and regs. You can bet gag orders exist there, as everywhere.
    Note: China is making progress on IP theft, strategically.
    Many nations do the same as China, India only recently suggested the strategic partnership requirement will go away. There simply is no other way to access such markets. Fail to comply and they’ll nationalize your factories & jail your execs.
    This doesn’t make it right, especially in the eyes of US citizens whose government also expects quick access to any records inside any firm’s data centers, no questions allowed and mind the gag order. Those lobbing critiques at overseas glass data centers must consider what is shared from databases on our shores.
    I don’t always agree with or like what foreign firms do to comply with overseas regs or non-democratic regimes. Oil and mineral firms have a deadly track record here. I still buy fuel but XOM shares.
    Apple’s 2021 Supplier Responsibility Report proves Apple is willing to lead by example everywhere it does business. Worker rights are human rights.

    3
    June 14, 2021
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      Huawei has introduced its own mobile OS because it is denied Android. A firm from any other Country than China, doing this, would fail badly. But with a population greater than 1.5 billion (with a healthy nationalist point of view) and government financial support, Huawei be successful. Processor design and manufacturing to follow.

      How long before Chinese manufacturers, using Huawei tech, supplant Android. In this scenario Vestager has lost her job.

      6
      June 14, 2021
    • Larry Fritzlan said:
      Tesla, not a partner

      0
      June 15, 2021
  5. Alan Trerise said:
    Of course in the same paper they detail how US DOJ forced Apple to turn over data on Congress and White House counsel and then gag Apple. Those requests were camouflaged by the other 250 requests that DAY from law enforcement. The casting of stones is well on ridiculous.

    But from the San Bernardino case we can see where Apple has chosen to draw the line. The secure enclave on the iPhone will encrypt DATA STORED ON THE PHONE. The encryption technology was designed such that not even Apple can access it. Encryption is not the default setting. They did turn over any data that was on iCloud. I suspect that backups to iCloud decrypt locally and re-encrypt for storage on iCloud using an Apple accessible key.

    It will be interesting to see how Apple responds when China inevitably either requests Apple build a backdoor or requires Apple to turn off the encryption feature for iPhones sold in China. BTW our own FBI has already requested this. Apple stood firm.

    5
    June 14, 2021
  6. bas flik said:
    you have to accept China the way it is. who are we to judge China. its an illussion to think you can control 1 billion+ people. trading is never bad. and the terms of the trade you decide yourself. like trump did. western politician still want to rule the world. they live in the past and over estimate themself. instead of them the world is ruled by Apple. All talent is sucked into Apple. Left overs end up in politics.

    6
    June 14, 2021
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      Left overs end up in politics.

      Or the media.

      1
      June 14, 2021
  7. bas flik said:
    how USA would respond if android and apple were Chinese? this i do not understand of China. Why they allow ios and android to steal their subjects away?

    3
    June 14, 2021
    • Fred Stein said:
      I upvoted.

      bas, you raise perhaps the most important point. Trust Apple more than any other company.

      1
      June 14, 2021
    • bas,
      Don’t count out Harmony OS by Huawei!
      Read the Art of War by Sun Tzu. A quick read but subtle. China still takes that book seriously. Leaders must pick battles according to what the people will tolerate. Besides, there are many developers based in mainland China obediently writing compliant apps for iOS and Android. China may be the 1st or 2nd largest mobile app developer community. Some call it a growing cottage industry but that grossly understates what those developers represent in terms of China’s quest to one day dominate all things tech.

      4
      June 14, 2021
      • Gregg Thurman said:
        Thomas gets it. Western civilization thinks in tactical terms, the Chinese think in strategic, and very loooong term (decades?).

        With the Chinese, Trump (and anybody that follows his successor) think in terms of the legacy they can create in four years.

        Such is the legacy of multi-party political systems.

        3
        June 14, 2021
  8. bas flik said:
    the chinese copy everything. they can not match USA creativity. so even their strategy must be copied. look at their rover they sent to mars. exact copy of Nasa. they need the ideas of USA otherwise they are lost. millions starved to death when they applied their own ideas under mao. and even these were copied from marx. copiers are always behind.

    2
    June 14, 2021

Leave a Reply