Apple CEO Tim Cook met directly with Chinese officials in 2016, and they forged an exclusive five-year deal worth $275 billion with Beijing. This agreement allows the iPhone maker freedom to trade on the mainland, in return for supporting its technological sector.

Cook visited China in 2016, after China’s government had passed several measures to restrict the tech giant’s activity in China, according to The Information.

Apple executives were concerned by threats to features like Apple Pay and iCloud from the Chinese government. Cook therefore held a series private meetings with Beijing officials.

The report says that Cook and Communist Party officials signed a memorandum of agreement.

The Information reported that Apple had agreed to several concessions in return for exemptions from Chinese regulations.

The company committed $1billion to Didi Chuxing in May 2016. The company also promised to increase employee training within the country.

Apple’s success in China is due to this agreement. In Greater China, the company earned $17.7billion during the second quarter. This is 87.5 percent more than the previous year.

The Information reviewed documents from within the company and found that the iPhone is now the most popular smartphone. 

Apple didn’t immediately reply to Reuters’s request for comment. 

American corporations were criticised at home because they expanded their operations in China. China is being accused of human rights violations towards Uyghur Muslims. 

Apple CEO Tim Cook (seen above in Beijing in March 2019) personally met with Chinese government officials in 2016 and forged a secret $275billion deal with Beijing allowing the iPhone maker to freely do business on the mainland in exchange for helping it develop its technology sector

Apple CEO Tim Cook is seen in Beijing (March 2019). He met with Chinese government officials and struck a $275billion secret deal that allowed the iPhone maker to operate on China’s mainland. This was in exchange for the company developing its technology sector.

Cook is photographed on the left meeting Wang Chao, Vice Minister of Commerce of China, in Beijing in March 2012

Cook photographed with Wang Chao in Beijing as Vice Minister for Commerce in China in March 2012.

Apple executives were alarmed at the Chinese government's threats against features such as Apple Pay, iCloud, and the App Store, prompting Cook to hold a series of secret meetings with Beijing officials. Cook is seen above next China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua (right) in Beijing in 2014

Apple officials were concerned by threats made against Apple Pay and iCloud features. Cook held a series private meetings with Beijing officials. Cook seen in Beijing, 2014 with China Mobile Chairman Xi Guohua.

Cook is seen right embracing an unidentified man at the China Development Forum in Beijing in March 2017

Cook can be seen with an unidentified man during the China Development Forum held in Beijing in March 2017.

Cook stated last month that Apple has a responsibility to its products being sold in all possible countries, even China.

Cook declared, “World peace through global trade.”

He admitted that companies would need to acknowledge that laws differ in different markets.  

The 2016 agreement called on Apple to help Chinese manufacturers develop ‘the most advanced manufacturing technologies’ and ‘support the training of high-quality Chinese talents.’ 

According to The Information, Apple has also promised to make deals with Chinese software companies, work with Chinese researchers, and invest with Chinese technology firms. 

Apple is the only American tech company that has a presence in China.

Microsoft-owned LinkedIn, which is owned by Microsoft, announced in October that it will shut down its networking service. It also plans to transition to a job board following a Beijing order giving it thirty days to regulate its content.

LinkedIn is now part of other social media platforms like Facebook, Google and Twitter.

These companies were banned from China in years past after refusing government requests to control user content.

A spokesperson for LinkedIn told that while we plan to retire the Chinese version of LinkedIn later in the year, our presence will remain in China and drive our new strategy. We are also excited to launch InJobs later in the year. 

Also in October, Amazon’s audiobook service Audible and phone apps for reading the holy books of Islam and Christianity disappeared from the Apple store in mainland China.

Audible claimed that the Apple Store in China removed its app last month due to permits.

The makers of apps for reading and listening to the Quran and Bible say their apps have also been removed from Apple’s China-based store at the government’s request.

A spokesperson for China’s embassy in the U.S. declined to speak about specific app removals but said the Chinese government has ‘always encouraged and supported the development of the Internet.’

Liu Pengyu emailed that he believed the Internet’s development in China would also have to comply with Chinese regulations and laws.

China’s government is trying to regulate the online flow of information for years. However, it’s increasingly increasing its enforcement in internet-related ways. This makes it difficult to identify the reasons behind a specific app being removed.

Chinese regulators have attempted to tighten data privacy and restrict the time that children are allowed to play video games.

They also control more of the algorithm used by tech companies to personalize or recommend content.

Over the summer, Duolingo, a popular US-language learning app that was available in China’s Apple Store, disappeared along with many other video games.