Tim Cook dismisses fears of retaliation for Huawei arrest when visiting China

Apple CEO Tim Cook has dismissed fears that China might target him in retaliation for the arrest of Huawei’s CFO. He says that he has no concerns travelling to the country.

Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was arrested last month in Canada following a US extradition request to face charges of breaching US sanctions on Iran, and it has been feared that the Chinese government may respond by targeting Apple …

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The BBC reported last month that a state-run newspaper made a direct threat against US companies selling smartphones in China.

China can restrict US companies from entering the Chinese market by overhauling its standards for market access, acquisition rules and telecom protocols if the country wants.

One analyst said that Apple must feel like it has a bullseye on its back. It is thought that the granting of an unlikely injunction request by Qualcomm was a warning shot.

While the threats to date have been over trade, some have raised the possibility of Cook himself being targeted by the Chinese government. However, he has told CNBC that he has no such concern.

“I was just there in October. I’m going back later this quarter. And so it’s not something I’m even thinking about is the truth,” Cook told CNBC’s Josh Lipton in an interview […]

“I don’t know the circumstances of that, and I don’t need to know and shouldn’t know. But what I can tell you is I feel welcomed when I go there,” Cook said.

Cook did, however, repeat his opposition to the trade war initiated by President Trump. This has already seen Chinese companies boycotting Apple and threatening to fire employees who use iPhones.

“I do believe that it’s in the best interest of both countries to have a very strong trade relationship. This thing is a big agreement between the countries, and it’s very complex and it clearly needs updating, there’s no doubt about all of that,” Cook said. “Business can play a very key role in bringing countries together.”

China may be reassured by yesterday’s earnings warning by Apple, revealing that iPhones have been selling well below expectations in the country.

Photo: Shutterstock

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Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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