Will Apple be the final American IT behemoth in China?
There was a period when all of the US tech titans, including Facebook, were based in China. Apple’s massive footprint in the country is becoming increasingly noticeable.
Microsoft, which still has a presence in China, announced last week that its social networking site, LinkedIn, would be shut down there.
The company claimed that complying with the Chinese government had gotten increasingly difficult, thus it had to shut down.
In the country, Apple has its own censorship issues. Still, it’s becoming evident that Apple and Microsoft are caught in a domestic conflict between the Chinese government and the IT industry.
China’s own tech behemoths—Tencent, Alibaba, and Huawei—are massive worldwide conglomerates.
Apple, on the other hand, has different priorities in China than Microsoft. It is significantly more deeply enmeshed with the country than any other US tech firm.
Apple produced about $15 billion in revenue in China and Taiwan in the last quarter, which is a staggering sum.
Its worldwide supply network is similarly reliant on Chinese production. And, in order to do business in China, Apple understands that it must follow the country’s norms, even if that involves censorship.
The issue is that Apple considers the App Store and the iPhone to be inextricably linked. It doesn’t want to set a precedent by allowing customers to download programmes on their iPhones outside of the App Store.
After what it claimed was a Chinese hacking attack, Google pulled its search engine from China in 2010. The corporation stated that censoring searches was no longer acceptable.
Perhaps Apple responds, and many apps are still available in China’s App Store because Apple stood up for them. Apple seldom responds to such reports, instead directing journalists to its human rights policy, which declares that the company will abide by the laws of the nations in which it works, even if it disagrees with them.
And that’s exactly what they’ve been doing in China. When the authorities are serious about removing an app, it is uninstalled. Apple’s presence in the country now feels like a legacy of a past era. Big tech is simply not as present in China as it once was.