Report: Apple’s $275B Deal in 2016 Helped Develop China’s Tech, Economy

Report: Apple's $275B Deal in 2016 Helped Develop China's Tech, Economy Report: Apple's $275B Deal in 2016 Helped Develop China's Tech, Economy The Chinese national flag is flown outside an Apple store in Shanghai. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

By Charles Kim | Tuesday, 07 December 2021 06:35 PM

Apple reached a $275 billion deal with Chinese officials in 2016 that helped develop that country's economy and technology, The Information reported Tuesday.

The previously unreported five-year deal was made after Chinese officials threatened more regulations on the iPhone maker, after officials complained it was not doing enough to help the local economy there.

Internal Apple documents obtained by The Information showed that Apple CEO Tim Cook visited China in 2016 to battle a proposed regulatory crackdown on the company.

Cook met with Chinese officials and signed the agreement that made concessions to Beijing and, in turn, won ''key legal exemptions'' for Apple, Reuters reported.

The agreement included Apple investing in new stores, research and development centers, and renewable energy products, and promising to use more Chinese supplied components in its devices, contract with more Chinese software firms, collaborate with Chinese universities, and directly invest in Chinese technology companies, according to the report.

The tech company's revenue in China grew by 83% in the third quarter, bringing in net revenue of $14.6 billion despite supply chain disruptions, the South China Morning Post reported Oct. 29.

In January, CNBC reported Cook as saying the record increases in revenue in 2020-21 were ''more than an iPhone story.''

''China also had a record number of upgraders during the quarter, the most we've ever seen in a quarter. I think probably some portion of this was that people probably delayed purchasing in the previous quarter as rumors started appearing about an iPhone,'' Cook said on the earnings call in January.

''Keep in mind that 5G in China is, the network is well established. And the overwhelming majority of phones being sold are 5G phones. And so I think there was some level of anticipation for us delivering an iPhone with 5G.''

According to the January CNBC story, Apple shipped 90.1 million iPhones in the last quarter of 2020 alone, the largest number shipped in history.

While the company has been criticized for doing business with China amid reports of human rights violations in the communist country, news of the deal did not affect the company's stock dramatically on Tuesday as shares rose about 3% in morning trading, the Daily Mail reported.

Other internet companies, including Zoom and LinkedIn, suspended business in China after the government blocked them.

''While we are going to sunset the localized version of LinkedIn in China later this year, we will continue to have a strong presence in China to drive our new strategy and are excited to launch the new InJobs app later this year,'' a LinkedIn spokesperson told