Apple CEO Tim Cook reportedly signed $275 billion deal with China in 2016 to quash regulatory actions

Apple CEO Tim Cook signed a deal worth $275 billion with the Chinese government back in 2016, a new report has revealed. Cook met with the government officials in China in an attempt to bring relaxation to regulatory actions that were due implementation back then and assured the said investment. The deal was aimed at giving China’s economy a boost while increasing the technological skill sets in the workforce.

The Information (via 9to5Mac) has obtained what seem like documents of a five-year deal between Apple and the Chinese government forged back in 2016, as well as spoken to multiple people corroborating the mutual understanding between the company and the government.

Cook was at the front in inking the deal during a series of his visits to China. But the need for these visits and, therefore, a deal was necessitated by Apple officials who wanted to subdue all the bad press in China and mend relationships with the Chinese officials who believed that Apple was not doing enough to promote the country’s economy. The internal documents show that Cook “personally lobbied officials” to allay fears over Apple Pay, iCloud, and the App Store.

The report said Cook sought a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Apple and China’s National Development and Reform Commission to ask for a number of concessions in return for exemptions in the impending regulations against Apple services in the country. The agreement was around 1,250 words long and prepared by the government affairs team at Apple China, but Cook was at the helm of this deal.

The deal included an investment of $1 billion in China’s ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing to, the report said, appease the government. And as the deal began to unfold, Apple managed to quash the regulations that China was supposedly going to implement against the iPhone maker. The deal also ensured Apple’s operations in China were back on track. Meanwhile, the government had assurances in the form of training of workforce, business deals, and investments in the country’s economy.

Apple pledged to help Chinese manufacturers build “the most advanced manufacturing technologies,” support “the training of high-quality Chinese talents,” use more components from suppliers in China, sign deals with Chinese software companies, collaborate with research in Chinese universities, and directly invest in tech companies in China. The government also asked Apple to assist around a dozen public causes.

The agreement also had a clause that in case of no objection from either party, which includes Apple and the Chinese government, the deal would be extended by an additional year until May 2022.

Cook also promised the Chinese government “many billions of dollars more” than the current expenditure in China. That would include investments in setting up new retail stores, research and development centres, and projects for renewable energy in China. In totality, the total investment that Apple agreed to make was more than $275 billion in a duration of five years.