Will Apple be the last tech giant to leave China. Most US tech giants have a presence in China including Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, and many others. Apple is among the companies with a huge presence. But slowly and gradually companies are shutting down their operations in China because of the challenging policies of the Chinese authorities. Last week, Microsoft announced to shut down LinkedIn because of the challenging working environment.
Similarly, Apple has its own censorship problems in China. The two religious apps have been removed from App Store. A group of experts who monitor the App Store says that this month a few apps have been removed. So a question arises, what is going on in China?
The great technological crackdown
No one exactly knows what is happening in Beijing but it is clear that Apple and Microsoft are facing a difficult situation and there is a conflict between the Chinese authorities and the Chinese tech industry. China itself has big tech giants like Alibaba and Huawei but the government is worried about the power they have. Alibaba accepted a fine of $2.8 billion for taking illegal advantage of their dominant market position. The Chinese government has drafted a 5 years plan regulating the tech industry.
The US companies are also not spared in this great technological crackdown. Both Apple and Microsoft know their positions and are aware of the challenges they may face. They are aware that they need to walk carefully in China. Soon China is introducing the Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL). The law will compel the companies to comply with more regulations. The decision of Microsoft to shut down LinkedIn looks like saying goodbye to China before the enforcement of PIPL.
Does Apple entering a devil bargain
However, Apple has quite different interests and priorities in China. It has a huge presence in the country. Apple made almost $15 bn revenue in the last quarter in China and Taiwan, which is a huge amount. Apart from this, the global supply chain of Apple deeply depends on Chinese manufacturing. Apple knows to stay in China; the company has to comply with the regulation of the country, even if it is censorship.
Now, why not Apply just sell iPhone and leave App Store in China. The answer is that Apple believes that App Store and iPhone cannot be separated from each other. Apple does not want apps for iPhone can be downloaded other than App Store. Therefore Apple is removing apps from App Store and complying with censorship issues. Censorship has become stricter in Apple’s time and is termed as Devil Bargain.
Earlier in 2010 google withdraw from China as it said that google cannot censor so many searches. Rebecca Fannin says that Apple will fight hard but will stay in China because Apple is the market leader in China. The company speaks very little about these issues. However, Apple will face a tough time because there is no presence of big tech giants.