Chinese internet is as closed as it gets. Any foreign company eating up the market share of a local company will get blocked eventually or be forced into merging into a local entity.
For now it really is open in one way : Chinese companies are welcome to compete in the whole world, but China won't let you be a competitor of the local companies
Cook is "forced" into this monkey dance because he's deeply entrenched into the Chinese market. He only has little leverage : the jobs he creates in China and the money he makes there.
He has to comply to local laws, even though it interferes with his own point of view because lots of money is at stake. He can't say it in this conference
Isn’t it the same reason why most of the corrupt people do what they do. There is a lot of money on stake for them and they decide to close their eyes on the corruption around them and actively participate in that vehicle.
Cook is doing exactly the same, he is putting money in front of his moral principles.
If he is so vocal about freedom or whatever, he should take a stand and do something at least in his own company, if his board or investors are pressuring him - he should quit or do something about it, because right now - whatever he says about fighting for freedom is just a complete farce.
Yesterday Hackernews talked about how Apple was just focused on making money and they should ignore any moral implications, today we are supposed to feel compassion and understanding for poor Tim Cook? It just sounds like everyone has Apple as their idol and they can't do any wrong.
If you eventually do get contact it will end up with a kind of theatrical act where we are acting that they should care and are being heard, and the CEO may end up acting as if he does care. Perhaps even with more than mere actions.
Maybe he even cares as a human being (if he doesn't -> psychopath), but with his CEO hat on he certainly does not.
Aren't CEOs and managers even trained to think that way in business school? For instance the "shareholder value maximization" idea, which teaches the sole responsibility of a corporation is to make the most money it can for its shareholders, and damn everything else.
That's a problem the Chinese have managed to avoid, even if it's been in a corrupt way. It seems like they make the local companies prioritize the policy objectives of the authoritarian government ahead of absolutely maximizing the profit interests of their shareholders.
So we shouldn't hold anyone accountable? Just give up?
If N companies pulled out of China and it didn't liberalise, they've incurred a cost for no benefit. If N+1 pulled out and it did trigger China to liberalise, they'd benefit from doing it.
The trick is finding the N+1 companies and convincing them they're enough to be the trigger.
> The trick is finding the N+1 companies and convincing them they're enough to be the trigger.
It seems like China has been pretty successful at preventing the actual dependence on foreign companies needed for that strategy to have its indented effect. For instance, if Apple pulls out, Chinese who can afford an iPhone are just going to have to settle for a Huawei.
The only chance I see is a general reduction in trade or foreign-driven manufacturing hurting the overall Chinese economy, but that would take a lot of companies to accomplish.
China is slowly, slowly liberalizing. The trendline is towards more civic freedom, less inhumane practices. If they started to do something destabilizing or genocidal, that is the time to pull out.
> I think China is actually demonstrating the fallacy of our idea that as a country develops it has to become a liberal democracy.
I don't think that's necessarily been proven a fallacy, the idea that liberalizing China would be simple and automatic certainly has been. The Chinese Communists aren't stupid: they've been carefully studying things like post-Communist Russia and the Arab Spring in order to avoid mistakes that might cause them to lose power. If China liberalizes, it will take a unique path that the Communists probably couldn't see.
Ultimately of course, these things do have a return, even just in PR. How Apple operates in China has some effect on its US sales and market position... so I guess Tim has to play a careful game.
OTOH, pissing off China could mean huge losses for Apple, and that makes it a different story altogether.
Companies (for profit or not) answer to their major stockholders. Even politics in a (democratic) country (EU or U.S. or X, place possibly your country where X) follow a similar mechanism: politicians conform with the wishes of the major coalitions that will keep them in power. Sure one can leave footprints of their ideals, but after some threshold they are intrinsically bound by their power base (usually lobbying).
They could conceivably diversify their manufacturing base, but that's a longer term strategy. Given Apple's reputation for control, it's conceivable that they're not as dependent on the Shenzhen ecosystem as your typical manufacturer. It doesn't have to be domestic US production, just not China.
Instead imagine a world without even the lip service necessary for value training.
In other words consider an unfettered race to the bottom.
A couple laws would deal with the problem quite rapidly but we first need to get this social-darwinistic neoliberal ideology out of our collective arses...
I fail to imagine how laws can convince a profit-maximizing entity to stop behaving like profit-maximizing entity.
What kind of stupidity is this? The Chinese government is an authoritarian oligarchy and doesn't give two shits about "ensuring the populace's interest." It cares about maintaining its power and control.
I think you need to cleanse yourself of your free-market straw men. It's not a bad idea for there to be more stakeholders in control of companies than just the shareholders. For instance, you could split the board between shareholders, employees, and customer representatives. That's not a radical idea either. IIRC, German unions have long had seats on their employer's board of directors, see:
Besides, in Germany Unions such as IG Metal _do_ sit on the Board.
China is a great example to be studied in this regard. Their changes do indeed ensure that profit will only be one of several considerations for company policies in China; this will undoubtedly result in more consumer-friendly corporate behavior, but it also tightens central control and is likely to deepen the kind of censorship measures that I personally would not want to wish on any person or company.
Letting all people (of a given country) have a say means involving the government in which the company's headquarters are located. I'd rather not have national[istic] interests working from within companies, I feel laws and regulations are better suited to get a fair & transparent outcome.
The German model that the sibling comment brought up is quite sane in comparison. It limits the stakeholders to only those who actively participate in production, which provides a kind of decentralization enforced by laws, but not directly steered by central interests. In terms of overall benefit to society, it's hard to argue against that model and it has served the Germans well. (However, it's also worth noting that having unions sit on the board doesn't prevent the company from making unfavorable decisions outside of the limited national and workplace-environment-related interest of the extra stakeholders, and often those changes can only be deferred / slowed down but not outright avoided.)
Now you are going to say that the world is also full of criminals?
oh my god! who would have thought?
Put it this way, if Tim Cook acted the other way as you wanted, he simply wouldn’t be CEO anymore; the board would have him promptly removed. You can’t head up a public company and leave that much money on the ground.
 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDFyuPxAkqE
That settles it then: dystopian miasma it is! Can't let morality or ethics stand in the way of a small number of my dollars.
 Your 80% figure is totally bullshit. Only an idiot has 80% of his savings in Apple stock and Apple does not do 80% of its business in China. It has manufacturing elsewhere and so much cash that I'm sure it could quickly ramp up whatever production capacity it needs wherever it needs it.
Apple doesn’t care so much about making stuff in china as it does sells stuff. It is their second biggest market, quickly becoming its first, and is very profitable. Taking china out of Apple would remove probably 50%+ of its market cap, Cook would be put in an insane asylum by his board very quickly.
Again, ownership and stewardship of money isn't the highest good, and shouldn't be the compass that we use to guide all of our moral and ethical decisions (checked only by bare-minimum legal compliance).
Your logic is the same kind of reasoning that could easily be used to justify abusive sweatshops, child labor, and worse.
You also assume too much: some of this money is my own, though that's irrelevant. I'll be high and mighty about anyone's money if it's being used to prop up something unjust.
Of course we'll only find out if multiple people individually discover their backbones and forgo personal profit to take a moral stand, and I don't think that'll happen anytime soon.
I don't understand why people keep confusing the two as if CEOs are some kind of philanthropists. They're not. They're egocentric maniacs who represent their big business. That's what they're trained for, and what they're good at. See also the documentary The Corporation. IMDB's summary : "Documentary that looks at the concept of the corporation throughout recent history up to its present-day dominance." or Metacritic's summary  "This feature documentary analyzes the very nature of the corporate institution, its impacts on our planet, and what people are doing in response."
Also interesting is the correlation between CEOs and psychopaths .
Maybe what Cook has said about freedom is a complete farce. Maybe it isn't. Taking a stand against the Chinese government might win him points on HN, but not with the Chinese government. And at the end of the day, they make the call on whether they'll tear down the wall or close the gates.
Also, his job is to preside the company. That involves keeping manpower happy and productive. Keeping public opinion in check. And also, making a profit.
To me it looks like Cook is telling a kid who is being bad "thanks for putting in effort and let me work with you to be good". You can interpret this in many ways.
He has to? What are you saying here?
What good does it do for him to be very good and have a very righteous point of view, if he does not actually do anything about it. Then sure, sign me the fuck up. I'm such a good person I would even, oh I don't know, I would even sell everything I own and give it to the poor. Unless you actually ask me to do that, in which case I will say "I can't do that, that would cost me a lot of money". But hey, it's the thought that counts, I'm still a good guy!
In short, bullshit on that whole argument. He has no principles. Just like any other private company, his one objective is maximising profit. Moral considerations don't enter in the capitalist framework.
> He has to comply to local laws, even though it interferes with his own point of view because lots of money is at stake. He can't say it in this conference
If this were the case, then he could just not show up. I think the lack of principle here ideally should be reflected in their revenues, but somebody has to convince the public that buying in to Apple, is now the same as buying into in to the CPC.
Does nobody realize that the CPC has found a way to merge the two most sinister impositions, government censorship and social censorship, into one despair/tyranny manufacturing device?
> For now it really is open in one way : Chinese companies are welcome to compete in the whole world, but China won't let you be a competitor of the local companies
Not that Baidu has any foreign market-share, but this seems like something that should prompt a tit-for-tat trade-policy response, even if it's in another area of trade.
uhm, no? you're pushing what you want, what you hope his point of view is unto him.
however action talks more than words and as far as we know, as seen here, his point of view that money trumps morality and truthfulness and he'll say whatever his role at Apple demands him to say, both to government and customer, playing both sides for as long as people like you let him a free pass.
So either we accept that they are governed by the dollar or not. Their values only matter in countries where they can take a non risk stand.
Do you mean it stops selling its products in China? Or stop assembling iPhones in China? Or both?
According to this page (https://www.macworld.co.uk/feature/apple/where-are-apple-pro...), 'the assembly of Apple's devices is for the most part done in China'.
If Apple leaves China suddenly, I don't think it can build that large an assembly line quickly to satisfy the global demand of iPhones.
And according this document (https://www.apple.com/newsroom/pdfs/fy17-q4/Q4FY17DataSummar...), half of Apple's Q4 2017 revenue come from iPhone. So, if the supply of iPhones is greatly reduced, the cash Apple sits on will quickly run out. Then Apple will be in great trouble.
The bigger issue is finding enough skilled people for the factories, China is pretty much the only place in the world with enough trained workers in the scale that Apple needs them.
Can you provide an example of a foreign company that was willing to comply with Chinese law, but still faced this outcome?
Disney can't even own their own park in China, they have to be a minority owner. So they build a nice, very expensive park, Disney Shanghai, and get 43% of it. That's the world's largest, most powerful media company, forced to beg on its knees just to get access to build in China. That tells you everything you need to know about how accessible China really is.
How's this for an example of how Chinese law works for outsiders? Jack Ma stealing tens of billions of dollars from Softbank and Yahoo, by taking Alipay away from Alibaba shareholders without proper compensation and without shareholder voting. He gave it to himself, discharging it out Alibaba and into his own hands, with complete disregard for what the ownership percentages were of Alibaba. It's one of the greatest thefts in world history, and these other large corporations were powerless to do anything about it. Ant Financial / Alipay of course is a critical piece of Chinese technological infrastructure, and is likely to go on to be worth a couple hundred billion dollars over time. For example this Wiki quote:
"In the fourth quarter of 2016, Alipay had a 54% share of China's $5.5 trillion mobile payment market"
That says it all about the extraordinarily vast scale of that theft. No chance China was ever going to allow Softbank and Yahoo to have such a big stake in that. So they looked the other way while Ma robbed the bank.
What outside technology company possibly trust being in business with Chinese tech companies on anything important or valuable to the Chinese economy after something like that? They'll just change or ignore the rules at will. I liken it to Jeff Bezos choosing to give himself most of AWS, discharge it out of Amazon.com's ownership structure, and not compensate the other Amazon shareholders for it. It'd be like Bill Gates granting himself Windows LLC, removing the product from Microsoft circa 1994 without shareholder compensation, and reaping tens of billions in additional gains that should have gone to Microsoft shareholders.
Nobody is forcing them to build in China, disney just wants to make more money for themselves, so China can do whatever they want since it’s their land. If Disney agreed to this terms - it only means that it’s still profitable for Disney.
The issue is: China is barely an accessible market for even the most powerful and largest of international corporations. Their rules for domestic entities are dramatically different than the rules for foreign entities, which is an intentional effort to restrict foreign competition and access to their economy. China wants to have its cake and eat it too.
Developed economies will increasingly shut down China's access in the same manner as China does, ending China's free ride. That process is already well underway with the US and Western Europe, as both have begun blocking China's ability to acquire local companies and technology. China will find it increasingly difficult to sell higher value products into the US and Western Europe (by far the two wealthiest economic regions on earth), restricting potential economic expansion for China.
Then again, maybe they're ok sacrificing long-term global growth to increase their domestic situation to something comparable to Europe or the US, at which point it won't hurt as much...
Zuckerberg is all ready to comply and multiply his attempts to get closer to the Chinese government (look it up), but stays blocked.
> In China this privilege is nominally given to the father or grandfather of the child. Asking a complete stranger, albeit a famous one to name your child is unheard of.
WhatsApp never entered into China market, never register as a company in China, so how it could follow the regulation?
I've used both Didi and Uber in China many many times, and it seemed like they were competing against each other pretty hard, without discounts etc.
From my perspective as a customer, it seemed like they were both just trying to outspend each other to gain market share, and Uber just decided it was no longer a good use of cash.
Following laws is normal, but Tim Cook shouldn't both comply on censorship, and right after promote an "open internet" conference hosted by the government that just told you remove the VPN from your app store.
China doesn't have rule of law, it rules BY law. Laws and their enforcement apply differently if you're local company or foreign company. Also differently whether you're in good terms with the government or not (this is probably why Cook even showed up at this conference to begin with).
If they want to shut you down they can just pile on unreasonable demands until you quit. Try applying for a journalist Visa without connections in mainland China to get a taste if this kind of functioning.
To have a company in China you need local partners, and you will have to give up your IP at some point.
Apple and Microsoft are still welcome because Apple creates tons of jobs and Microsoft runs on all the computers. If they loose that and still step on Chinese companies market, the tone would change quickly
Because the community is Western-oriented and most of us are rather ignorant of things Chinese, I'm sure that many things people say on Chinese topics can be hard to take. Nevertheless, we can't have nationalistic flamewars. If you know more, the thing to do is to teach us, in a civil spirit. If you can't or don't want to do that, that's fine, but then please refrain from posting.
the imprint of their naked feet / in the desert sand / will outlast the silhouettes / of your bombs and tanks
That goes for everybody, everywhere. Past, present, future. Identifying with a nation, religion or race is not a sign of greatness, it's a sign that a person didn't get to develop. Having reached the local optimum available to you does not equal maturity, having no room left to grow does not mean you're big. Tens of billions multiplied by zero still equals zero.
Complying with the local laws is basically just greed when the laws are so far against your own core values
The point I am trying to make is that prevalent HN view against censorship is not something Apple leadership cares about enough to leave the market.
Baidu best google because they were allowed to not follow local law, being a chinese company, and got popular on porn as well as rich in healthcare scams.
Well google did not want to follow local law not because of their moral stand but because their business relies on gathering information about their customers, and thats different from Apple who mostly justs want to sell things to people.
Will they start to get the boot too?
Technically, Google didn't "leave" China either, they simply moved Google.cn to Hong Kong. The fact that mainland Chinese can't easily access Google without VPNs (now banned, helped along by Apple) is a political decision and doesn't have anything to do with Google. No one in the world has problems using Google.hk except those in the mainland.
Apple's behavior here is quite unethical no matter how you slice it. They are aiding and abetting a censorship regime that is cracking down even harder recently than it was previously. The centralized app store model makes it even worse, rather than better, as on the PC and Android, you can still side load apps or run linux, in order to avoid government mandated surveillance and censorship (In Xinjiang province, the government recently went as far as to mandate everyone install a backdoor or face jail time and fines)
Just wanting to sell things to people isn't an excuse, if in doing so, you are lending credibility and legitimacy to a unethical behavior. And frankly, the asymmetrical way many Western tech and media companies are blocked in China is frankly an unfair trade practice. Wasn't joining the WTO supposed to come with some kind of tit-for-tat agreements? That in exchange for lowering of tariffs and import regulations, there has to be some reciprocity on the other side?
Apple can still make their phones in China, but if they had a backbone, they'd say, no, "open internet" does not mean "we will help ban all VPNs from our store so Chinese consumers have NO CHOICE." and refuse the order, and let China ban the App Store. They could then allow a side-load model that decentralizes control so that the government can't even force them to censor.
In the US, they've marketed themselves as being anti-surveillance and proudly implemented cryptographic techniques in ways that even they can't break them. Allowing Chinese to sideload apps would allow them to say to the government "we can't stop people from using VPNs, we can't control what they download and install via side loading"
Sadly, that ship may have sailed, but IMHO, standing for your principles is better than selling out for money. They've already got $200 billion in cash in the bank and aren't hurting for revenue.
It hasn't been competing. Businesses that use AWS are forced into using competing inferior services. Part of what killed Red5Studios was not having capital to survive that transition.
Oh, I like this statement.
Because based on the same statement, if Cook wants to make money in a country where been gay will be punished by death, he must be smiling like a sunflower when he standing in front of a gay couple who will soon be executed because of, well, local law.
Very delightful, Huh?
But since I can't edit that post any more, let me just give you a free hug so we can continue enjoying the rest of the day.
The last time a company did the opposite it literally caused death--Google quitting China led to Baidu's ruthless ads for fake hospitals, which claimed many many lives.
I can't offer an opinion on whether or not Google should have tried to maintain more presence in China, but the link between them leaving the market and some people believing dodgy search results from Baidu and basing their critical medical treatment on said results is spurious to say the least.
I wonder what it'll take for Western governments to get their stuff together and elaborate a response.
It's frustrating for me too, but having spent a significant amount of time in both China and the USA, I can say with absolute conviction, I'd still rather live in the USA.
But consider this. The only reason we tolerate their shenanigans is that they offer their unwashed masses to us as the 21st Century-equivalent of slave labor. Look at what is happening to their lands, waters, and sky. There is no doubt that China continues to be exploited, continues to remain in the position it has always occupied in dealings with the west.
Towards wealthy and relatively wealthy, ideology sensitive western customers who can afford the luxury of climate awareness (manifested in prominently declared environmental friendly approaches from Apple), demanding freedom ... and the premium level of Apple products! Towards those who made Apple successfull and give the bulk of the income - yet.
All this in a period when Apple's reputation is corroded somewhat anyway.
Cook Kisses the Ring
I don't even know how to react to his friendly remarks towards China. Is it to keep the government happy and keep profiting from the Chinese market? That would make sense. But sometimes I feel like he's become too friendly.
Why else would he use a term like "cyberspace" in this day and age? Or did he speak in chinese and this is a bad translation?
I'd rather prefer a cycle than the 400kmph trains Chinese have but I want the freedom of speech I get in India. (of course 2014-current we don't have much freedom of speech, but this is a democracy and will always stay a democracy.)
They're also really happy to be able to own an iPhone. It's a huge status symbol there. They couldn't care less about the "Western Internet". Baidu, Weibo, Alibaba, Taobao etc. are more than enough in everyday life.
Now when I talk to people from the lower classes, they are bitter and tell me that, yeah China progressed, but their life is worse. The gap has increased between the rich and the poor and I don't think China is a great role model in term of progress.
I have a hard time understanding why people value stuff over freedom.
This you can't really say, can you? :(
But he won't be able to become a dictator. The loophole which Indira Gandhi used to form Emergency was removed and there is little chance that someone like her will be born, go to the top of a national party, win election and then form a coup.
Our armed forces are controlled by the President who, usually is voted from the outside, she ain't just a rubber stamp. Plus, not to mention, we don't have a democracy, we have an oligarchy, the politicians own businesses everywhere and the big business houses own all political parties so even if we became a dictatorship, the big business houses will be the ones to lose, at least one of them and that's all it takes to form a coup to kill the dictator.
Innocent age of Internet has died. I don't think there a right answer for Cook, but there're probably some worse answers, I'm grateful he did not take those and people who I care about can still buy iPhones in China.
They earned the respect of many people, who are used to continually seeing corporations sell out their values for profits.
Getting out of potentially the biggest market in the world because of incompatible values = courage. As opposed to removing a headphone jack from a phone.
I do respect Google for pulling out - this was actually the last time Google actually really tried to "don't be evil". Since then, they've thrown that overboard. But that one time, they did it.
The problem is that the outcome was worse than remaining there. That was a lack of wisdom on Google's part.
Apple could pull out, lose Billions of dollars and a hundred million users, Chinese wouldn't be able to get their hands on iPhones, and Samsung, Meizu, Huawei, and so on would be having a field day selling their government-approved devices, which, in terms of privacy, are infinitely worse than iPhones.
Apple is actually implementing some pretty serious privacy features, like end to end encryption in iMessage and so on.
Google would have lost to Baidu regardless and don't think for a second this wasn't factored in their decision.
The Chinese are known for degrading the online experience of western services in preference for local alternatives. This coupled with the fact that Baidu really is better for the Chinese market, just how Yandex has been better for the Russian market.
> Apple is actually implementing some pretty serious privacy features, like end to end encryption in iMessage and so on.
The end to end encryption in iMessage is shit because Apple is managing the encryption keys and if your adversary is the Chinese government you'll get fucked given Apple's newfound willingness to bend over.
Google was also doing terribly business wise in China, its revenue was a small and it was losing the search war against local giants like Baidu anyway.
It wasn't much of a courageous move but more so of a smooth PR move.
By exiting China, Chinese companies got the chance to actual grow and develop its talent pool. almost 10 years on, now 4 of the top 10 internet companies in the world are Chinese companies providing huge number of high paying highly skilled jobs to Chinese.
feel free to compare what Europe and Japan managed to get in the last decade in terms of Internet based economy.
The blocking of Google.cn was more than just Search. YouTube, Drive, Gmail, Google Play, Maps, etc are all blocked. In 2010, Google and Amazon had an enormous advantage over BAT and if there was complete freedom, they would have taken substantially more of a chunk of services.
This is not a localization issue. Google has 86% marketshare in Hong Kong and 91% in Taiwan. Search and hosting services localize easily.
Google gave up an enormous opportunity by not being willing to kowtow to the standard practice of handing over half your company in a joint venture or adopting political control over information. If you look at the valuations of BAT, it was a substantial opportunity cost. But it was the right thing to do.
the name of your favourite search engine google can not even be spelt by most Chinese, out of their market share of 15%, many had to use baidu to search for the address of google to get there.
amazon never engaged in any real competition in China, it was ebay that lost the entire market because ebay was focusing on protecting buyers when taobao.com chose to better serve and protect sellers.
High market share in Hong Kong and Taiwan? Well, how many local internet companies are there in those two places? How many qualified software engineers they have locally produced?
You can keep worship google, the truth that you can never deny is that 10 years after google's exit, China's internet sector is more active and profitable than ever before with almost half of the the world top 10 Internet companies being Chinese. That brings huge number of both well paid and highly skilled jobs for Chinese. Such kind of personal freedom surely is not something you support.
The rest of your message seems bizarrely nationalistic. How many engineers has Taiwan produced? I don't see how that's relevant to Google's market share, but Taiwan has a thriving tech economy, and TSMC is one of the world leaders in semiconductor fabrication.
I get it, you want Google banned from China because you don't want domestic Chinese companies to face free and fair competition. Great, that's a perfectly fine position to have, just don't act like Google didn't pull out of China because of interference by the government and that Baidu won because of superior quality. It was not a purely market driven decision and you know it. Also, don't complain if China is eventually punished by the WTO for trade protectionism, or if Western countries start punishing Chinese companies. It's already started: Huawei for example. The world might have been willing to overlook it when China was less well developed, but now there's no excuse for it.
Is that nationalistic?
Now let's look at your ~30% marketshare claims - you intentionally refused to mentioned the fact that Baidu had its market share increased from 40% to 64% in the same period when google peaked in 2010 - baidu had bigger market share and even bigger market share growth. That is a typical sign of google losing the competition - winner takes all is the rule of the Internet, it is the rule served google so well in all other markets, it is the rule that helped google to completely wipe out yahoo search and bing.
learn to grow up.
If Baidu was already winning, then there's no need to block Google for competitive reasons, is there?
You seem to be arguing that Google was hurting the development of domestic talent, and then also arguing Baidu was going to win anyway. If so, why the need for protectionism then?
Such "why don't they..." questions represent a logical fallacy.
In the US and Europe we can fight against censorship by lobbying, by getting the word out, etc. Yes, we have surveillance and are not winning every fight, but we still have rights, we still have freedom of speech and we still have the framework of the law to work in and politicians are still subject to the rules of democracy.
In China on the other hand the whims of the ruling party reign supreme and before you open your mouth to say anything, I'll have you know that I'm a citizen of Romania, a former Communist country from the Warsaw Pact and I know communism ;-)
And yes, Google has my respect for making a stand against Chinese censorship, regardless of your opinions about them.
Five eyes are not only in Europe.
Quitting your country of origin makes sense if you are those companies that claim to be friend of justice who also want to gain your people's respect. And Google is a multinational enterprise who loves tax havens very much.
Oh yes, the lobbying. How is the net neutrality thing going by the way? Has NSA/CIA/FBI stopped what they've being doing? Last time I heard about FBI is Apple opposes putting backdoor in their products. Apparently they didn't stop, yet they are seeking for some kind of power expanding. I hope your sense of superiority didn't come from "we are better than the worst."
Voters and politicians accuse Russia group for buying commercials. Companies like Google/Facebook are censoring terrorism videos/hate speech/fake news they (not people) don't like. Why would they do such thing if they are so confident with freedom of speech? Yes, the government won't do many things to you because of the definition of freedom of speech, just like what Aaron Swartz said, the power of censorship is holding by private sectors, their policies can be transparent or shady whenever they want, to gain support from general people. Being open is part of their PR, not because there's law to force them.
edit: added links
I'm glad you asked. Net neutrality is being debated in the open and there are good arguments against it that haven't been addressed.
Given that I live in a European country where competition in this space is really high, with high speed Internet / 4G connections being available for cheap, with plenty pro-consumer EU regulations already in place, I'm actually against net neutrality.
But the important thing for me though is that I can voice my opinions for or against it without fearing the government will rain down on me or my family. Last week and the week before that I was on the streets, participating in a public protest against our current government, because I can.
Again, those who haven't lived in a totalitarian state and haven't had grandparents or parents persecuted by the state for thinking thoughts against the regime, those people don't know what they are talking about. Imagine living in fear of reprisals just for listening to the former Radio Free Europe, which is what communism gives you.
> I hope your sense of superiority didn't come from "we are better than the worst."
No, my sense of superiority comes from facts and history.
Apple is wise enough to not suddenly engage in a battle for human rights. It's not the place of a company to change the laws.
What they can do is remain there, implement strong encryption everywhere, protect their users. That's what they're doing.
Not the examples I want to use to show the "openness".
The interesting thing for me is we have to celebrate "open internet vision" in 2017. So, is China admitting they were not open in last couple of years?
China explicitly censors its Internet as a way of control, whereas in the west news agencies implicitly censor news through selective reporting and giving greater weight to stories that support the narrative they want to push.
I'm not convinced one is any worse than the other, the west is slightly better in that you may not be sent to jail over a dissenting opinion - but good luck trying to effect any kind of change.
As someone who is personally a big fan of not going to jail, I consider this more than "slightly" better
I think you're distorting the lines between the internet as a communication network and the news industry who uses that network to distribute content.
One US president has already been kicked out of office due to jounalists, and we may see it happen again in the near future. What do you think would happen to those journalists in China, and how effective do you think they would be?
Except in the west there are countless alternative news sources that freely present other views. But I bet you already knew that.
I think it's unfair to assume that if Apple was to outright leave the Chinese market that this would somehow change China's stance on censorship. Instead, it will just likely cause competition to fill the gap as already is the case with many things in China's tech scene today.
So what do people think is the right choice for them? Leave China all together and say "no way, we won't be here unless the internet is totally open" or "we'll accept it.. for now"?
That hypothesis made sense with trade before and it makes sense with technology now. Unfortunately, decades of waiting have yielded no positive results.
Yes, leave. The Chinese are more likely to be hopeful of freedom if they don't see Americans as equivalently bad.
What I want to say is that Apple does not only sell products in China, it also manufactures its products in China.
That rationalization is used for a lot of damaging behavior; the duty to shareholders is not the only duty, and does not take priority over all the others. He also has responsibilities, for example, to employees and to his community, and for Apple the community is everywhere they sell products.
Supporting the oppression of others in order to make money is wrong; it's evil. His job as CEO is to navigate difficult issues like this one; the easy questions can be left to the junior managers.
Do you suggest Apple leave Chinese market? I'm not sure Tim Cook could get away with that even if he wanted to. Board would replace him with CEO more aligned with profit oriented shareholders imho. Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs, he is certainly be replaceable.
That's not actually true, though I agree that it is often repeated and there is pressure from shareholders and others. It's not and never has required absolute obedience; and IIRC even that idea in the theoretical sense was developed in the 1980s, long after the advent of large public companies.
> Do you suggest Apple leave Chinese market?
His choices are not so extreme. He doesn't have to show up at this conference, for example, or he can make a speech that promotes the freedom of the Chinese people. There are many other ways to navigate the situation; see my prior comment regarding that subject.
I agree. But that would be mostly meaningful gesture as it wouldn't change anything.
> he can make a speech that promotes the freedom of the Chinese people
This might be more meaningful and would actually mean he is putting something on the line / has skin in the game. Which is why I can't imagine Cook doing that. He would be putting Apple's business in China in danger by doing that.
> There are many other ways to navigate the situation; see my prior comment regarding that subject.
Yes, but the more meaningful actions Cook / Apple could take, the more likely it would damage their business. So it is against their interest to do anything other than empty gestures.
> I agree. But that would be mostly meaningful gesture as it wouldn't change anything.
I disagree about its impact. He legitimizes the oppression of the Chinese people with his presence; he says 'this is ok'.
> it is against their interest to do anything other than empty gestures
It is against their immediate financial interest; my whole point is that there are other interests too.
> “If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock” 
I don’t necessarily believe you are wrong in this case, but I don’t believe your path to supporting your statements was necessarily correct either.
The "profit maximization duty" is a myth. There's no such duty and as long as the management acts in the interests of the company, with very wide margin (basically, everything that is not explicitly designed to hurt the company and benefit themselves, such as stealing company funds to private account) - they are legally fine. Shareholders can, in general, remove management if they don't like it, but prosecuting management for a business decision that did not immediately increase profit would be extremely hard.
In particular, the management is fully free (at least doesn't have legal duty to avoid it) to not help censorship in China, even if doing so would bring profit. There is no "duty" to grab every profitable opportunity regardless of morals.
Following that reasoning, communism, capitalism and international trade are emphatically not part of Chinese culture - not to mention the way people in China now dress and most of the technology and consumer goods they use. Imperial monarchies interspersed with periods of civil war, economic and cultural isolation, and all of it based around Confucianism - that's been the culture since around 250 BCE, and they forcefully rejected Western trade and technology when they encountered it in the mid-19th century (leading to some horrible actions by the UK and other nations).
Chinese people in Taiwan and Hong Kong believe in and live these universal values, and they are the most prosperous, free, and stable regions of China. The values of freedom and democracy apply to other cultures worldwide, from Europe to India to China (Taiwan and Hong Kong) to Japan to South Korea to South Africa to Brazil. It's very hard to argue that they are just one nation's idiosyncrasy.
And who is to say that the people of mainland China don't want these things? Why not ask them? If Xi is so sure that a communist dictatorship has broad support, why not hold a vote?
Just saying that something isn't working doesn't mean there is a better option, either. Do you think there would be a different outcome if everyone pulled out of China completely and they do everything on their own without any external influence?
Yes I don't think that bowing to blatant censorship is a good option. He is enabling the suppression of free speech to make sure his stock doesn't drop. There are some cases where trading with China would be fine but selling products to wall off free speech is not one of them
That's explicitly against the site guidelines, so can you please not do it here? It's basically yelling.
Combine this with the other story on the front page where Apple shares the wireframe of your face. Not reassuring.
In reality, it’s slowly becoming a prison of 1.3 billion people that is gently closing its maws on them. Life is good, growth is great, but whenever the next crisis comes, which it will, the government will not be replaced like in Democracy but actively fight back, with technology developed by the best American companies. From there, they will probably close down and self-seal their economy like the Soviet Union did with some success, and embark on a period of profound killing as a means of control.
India will develop unevenly Gujarat, Maharashtra, TN, AP will forge ahead. The interior will have lesser impressive growth.
As long as India periphery is culturally diverse from Hindi core, India is not going to get anywhere. It will grow and medium pace and will make it to middle income in 2040, but nothing stellar.
Could you elaborate on why that might be?
Maligning another person's integrity with ease shows your character, or lack there of.
China is more open now, than it has been at any point since 1949 - and it continues to liberalize things - just very very slowly.
Is it? Can you give an example of where Hu and Jiang were more liberal than Xi?
Xi is not 'less liberal' then his predecessors because he started repressing Hong Kong the exact same way that they repressed the mainland. I mean, this sucks for Hong Kong, but it's not like the CCP had a sudden change of heart under him - it just took them a few years (And a bit of an anti-mainland movement) to start flexing their political muscle in Hong Kong.
At least during Hu's time there was still some minimum open channel (advocated by Chief Tsang) between the democrats and the mainland government. Now, there is none. There is no compromise on anything coming from mainland.
There is absolutely no flex under Xi's regime. I used to be quite pro-mainland myself, but in recent years I have switched my position after seeing how the mainland government is overreaching the One Country Two System.
How has Xi changed life for citizens of mainland China - the 99.5% of the population that does not live in Hong Kong? How has it become more authoritarian for them?
Every time I've asked this question, the answer has always involved Hong Kong - as if it is representative of China as a whole.
Nobody considers Puerto Rico to be representative of the rest of the United States, or Gibraltar to be representative of the rest of the United Kingdom. Hong Kong is, in a similar vein, a poor litmus test.
If this incident happened any time before Xi, would the outcome have been the same?
I'm asking you a question.
OP was saying that Xi is more liberal than his predecessors.
You said "Xi's regime is less liberal than ever."
So my question then is how would his predecessors handle the Hong Kong booksellers?
While pro-mainland argued that the owners were arrested lawfully, the truth is not.
> It was widely believed that the booksellers were detained in mainland China, and in February 2016 Guangdong provincial authorities confirmed that all five had been taken into custody in relation to an old traffic case involving Gui Minhai.
How could all five be detained in relation to an old traffic case? Most importantly, there was no evidence of these owners leaving HK, so how did they end up in China? All five of them? Plotting against mainland? Why would a traffic case warrant this kind of arrest? Let's face it, if this was a local traffic incident in U.S., there would be no manhunt at this scale.
What most people don't seem to understand is that China's growth is largely based on the fact that it started off, very recently, from such a low baseline.
Big percentage increases are a lot easier when you go from nothing, that doesn't mean you'd want to be a country that recently started from nothing.
China has a long and established history of replacing governments that are unfair to their people. It's just, why would you overthrow a government bringing in so much economic growth. Once that growth slows down their government will get away with less civil rights violations.
While I generally agree with your point, I don't know if I accept this premise. Would citizens in Tibet agree, for example? Hong Kong?
With due respect, that's a prediction without a basis, not evidence or an argument.
HK has been independent for a long time and been given back to China quite recently so I think 100 years from now if it stays as part of China it would be much less independent.
For example, take a look at Kaliningrad which is completely Russian now. Or other parts of Europe which were assimilated when taken over by bigger nations/states.
Though in Kaliningrad's case the original inhabitants were evicted.
It's completely hypothetical but there are some people arguing it should be returned to Germany as it used to be German for many centuries before.
There was a very recent event happening in Beijing kindergarten regarding sexual abuses....and the authorities CLAMPED DOWN ON THE MEDIA and DENIED IT TOOK PLACE. http://www.rfa.org/english/news/china/rumors-11292017123013....
Why do you think the rich and the intellectuals are fleeing the country? Polluted air, polluted water, polluted food, hidden poverty, censorship, police state, the list goes on and on....
Beijing pollution is still bad. But it's 1/2 of where it was at 4 years ago, and will likely be non-existent in the next 10 years.
1. I think people need to think of this in the historical context. China has always been closed to the West. The only time they really "opened up" it was because they were forced to after the opium wars, and they lost much of their sovereignty to European spheres of influence that ultimately wrecked them economically. Being closed has historically worked for them and not being so hasn't, so is it such a surprise they want to remain closed?
2. Economically it makes tonnes of sense to do this, and to be honest, I believe that's the main reason they're doing it (more so than to stop criticism's of the party or try to hide stuff). They're beating the West at their own game. Their country has so many people they don't need international markets; China has more people than Europe and North America combined!
France, for example, will likely never get it's own Facebook, Uber or Amazon because Facebook, Uber and Amazon are free to operate there, and as long as these big players hang around (which they will, indefinitely) there will be little space for a competing product to develop. This means France,
- Will have tech startups, but never with "Silicon Valley" level size or growth.
- These services in France will be highly dependant on USA policy
- Most importantly, there will be less incentive for certain types of engineering to grow in France. Like, will France ever have a hub for self-driving car research if there's no French Uber/Lyft/etc? Will it ever have as many self-driving car specialists? If there are engineers interested in this, they will most likely come to the US and work here.
China is protecting itself from brain/idea/high-skilled-job-drain by ensuring local alternatives grow within its borders. It wants to be a tech hub, and this is really the best if not only way to do it when it comes to software tech.
3. Stability. We might call it censorship and control, and we might be right, but especially after the Russian involvement in the USA's latest presidential elections and how easy it was for them to reach their audience online , do they not have reason to be paranoid? It's in the interest of Russia to have Trump as president, and, tbh, to split the American people and have in-fighting. And apparently it's not hard for them to make this happen in this connected world. Propaganda can come from both within, and outside.
I'm not trying to say that this is the best approach or that everyone should do this, but there's definitely more to it than "China is evil and wants to brainwash people isolating them from the outside world". Information can definitely get in and out of China; I think the historical, economic and defensive reasons make more sense in explaining China's approach. They're just being protectionist.
Can you provide evidence for your "FAKE" 7% YoY growth statistic? I know plenty of traders & Americans doing business in China who'd disagree with you.
I understand why people would flee -- the pollution is insane. But still, by all measures I've see the economic growth is quite real.