There is No Apple, Only Apple CHINA

Tim Cook’s Focus on “Apple China” Supersedes User Data Risk & Beijing Probably Already Has Yours….

By Ryan Carroll, Editor-at-Large


Editorial. January, 2019.

Apple has had a rough year, especially in regards to its dealings with China, even after being the first company to exceed a valuation of $1TnUSD. A valuation is does not currently hold at the time of this writing and some are skeptical if it will reach it again – potentially this editor believes it is likely to achieve that position again, but questions if it could maintain it.

Throughout 2018, and into 2019, Apple has been in the news regarding a multitude of troubles. Troubles and concerns that for, some reason, all tend to relate back to China….

From the ill conceived “Trade War” that effects the production of Apple products, as reportedly there is no American manufacturer who has the ability to manufacture a tiny screw used in some iProducts.

To the detention in Canada, and subsequent U.S. charges against Huawei’s CFO – and daughter of the company’s founder – over Iran Sanction violations. Leading Chinese companies and corporations to hand out financial reimbursements to employees that switch their iPhones for Huawei smart devices instead.

This came after credible concerns were raised from multiple U.S. Intelligence Agencies over ZTE and Huawei smartphones having the ability to spy on American who use such phones.

Intelligence concerns were heightened when Apple, along with several other major American tech companies, were reported to have tiny surveillance micro-chips implanted into their devices, by the Chinese government. A concern bolstered in the news, as nearly every smart devices worldwide has at least some piece of technology, if not the entire product itself, manufactured and / or assembled in China.

A claim that Apple has denied, and some professional security experts even disputed as being possible at this time – but one that cannot be fully dispelled. Though unlikely at the levels claimed.

In the fall Apple did purge large swaths of apps after creditable reports surfaced that several popular apps on the Apple App Store, one being a top ranked weather app, collected user’s date such as their location, without the user’s consent.

Along with multiple paid malware apps available on the Apple App Store that harvested user’s browser data that “conveniently” end up on servers in China. One of these anti-malware app was ranked in the top five of all paid malware apps available on the app store.

Lest forget Apple’s recent FaceTime “bug”.

This is just the tip of the iceberg that should concern Mac and Apple users worldwide, and Tim Cook / Apple’s “relationship” with the Chinese government. As Apple completely relies on the China market for its growth in becoming one of the biggest conglomerates in the world.

So:

Let us take a look back at some very troubling concerns of Tim Cook & Apple's ambitions and financial growth in China, and how Apple China supersedes Apple as a company itself. 

Apple has $trillions of dollars in profits of taxable money in offshore accounts. Money that rightfully should be taxed and go to improving our nation’s educational system, providing breakfast for children who are in need, and improving the resources behind CHIP – But, instead, it goes to bankrolling the culture of Brotopia powering an industry that has been subject to concern and oversight over the last few years.

They are not the only corporation that does this, but it’s a good way to get you on my side before I lay out why owning an Apple product in China, as a foreigner, is unsafe for your personal data.

And, even owning an iProduct anywhere in the world is probably unwise as well.

For those of you who have technology in your product, or your IP is technology based, and you are wishing to move into China. There is one very important thing to understand.

The Chinese Central Government requires all technology companies to provide a “backdoor” their proprietary source code to Beijing. A Backdoor that not only would allow China access to their patented, and industry secret, technology and the source codes that run it, but it will allow Beijing access to all of its user data and user’s presence in China.

Many tech companies have already backed out of China, the most notable Google, when Beijing tried to force them to hand over a backdoor and allow the Regulators access to all of Google’s Gmail account users – which would have been worldwide access and not just China-based users.

Prompting Google to move its Greater China headquarters from Beijing to Hong Kong. With Google being “unofficially” banned in China, as Gmail and Google access is slowed, restricted, or sometimes just not accessible in China.

I should note that Google has re-entered China with a deal to develop AI with a local partner (and possibly even host its own Cloud server), but whether this proprietary information is the same as its core source code or one that is unique to China, for China use only. Is unclear. As Google would have provided a Backdoor for these JV to Beijing.

Apple China’s iCloud data migration, which was designed to have all Chinese users of Apple products to be hosted on its China-based iCloud system, began signing up international iPhone users – without their knowledge or consent – to its China iCloud.

Many of these Apple users were American, paying with dollars for their American-based Apple accounts that were hosted on American Apple-Apps accounts, who had their data uploaded into a Chinese owned and Chinese ran iCloud. Secretly overnight.

Something that Apple claimed to be a mistake, or a glitch, in the system, but arguably this is not the case. As the Chinese Regulators, and and Apple’s local partner GCBD have complete access to Apple’s; source code & worldwide user data, through the Backdoor that Apple provided to Beijing.

All Chinese Apple users (which would include foreigners of sovereign nationalities) were given a One Day notice that Apple would migrate all of their data to their Chinese owned and run iCloud server to; “allow {for} improve(ment) in speed and reliability of their iCloud services products while also complying with newly passed regulations that cloud services be operated by Chinese companies.”

Apple users in China were not given the option to opt-out of the Chinese owned iCloud, or to use any other service than the Government approved and regulated one.

This comes in the wake of Apple admitting that it intentionally slows down its older iPhones – remotely – in an “effort” to save battery life, but we all know this was designed to push Apple users to buy the next-in-line Apple smart device. Upgrading not only the user’s phone but Apple’s shareholder dividends.

Apple could do this because of their “pyramid” structure that requires users to, not only link all of their Apple products to one another, but through interfaces that are unsuited to work with non-Apple products.

Years ago, and I am talking years, Apple’s operating system was far-n-beyond its competitors and offered a seemingly unhackable system, not only of their products but the iCloud itself. This all came crashing down a few years back, when not one, not two, but a whole slew of celebrities had their compromising photos leaked.

A claim they still tout.

Apple for years has been known to manufacture their phones in China through horrendous means from Child Labor to Noxious Hazardous condition just this month.

This should come as no surprise as Steve Jobs known treatment of his employees, as a boss, forcing many employees to move on to other companies away from the toxic environment he created around him in the workplace. Though he is still somehow revered as a model entrepreneur on how to run a successful internet-tech company or start-up.

To Tim Cook’s Mark Zuckerberg-style lying, on how its business practices that effect the American people and their personal data, are in the best interest of the American institutions and democracy.

China makes up 25% of all of Apple’s profits where it was once the unrivaled market king, but now only holds 14% of the total smartphone market share in the country. A move, that has influenced Apple’s decision to provide all backdoor, source codes & access to all worldwide user data and other personal information to the Central Chinese Government in Beijing.

A decision even though Tim Cook is flatly ignoring the fact that Apple is just not as important in China as it once was. A market that sees Apple loosing its relevance with continuous year-on-year drops. As Chinese are beginning to realize that the iPhone does not offer any competitive advantage over, even Chinese smartphone devices, in regards of bang-for-its-buck.

There is an important take away from Apple’s decline as a piece of Americana into a Made In China Property:

That if you are going to do business in China, and have tech-components to your proprietary IP. Then you must accept that you will need to build an unique source code product that is designed specifically for the Chinese market, as you will have to fork-over a Backdoor Key of your industry secrets and user-base.

A fact that has not gone unnoticed by China Watchers or American Officials.

Congress not-so-secretly stopped Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei from a deal, just before its announcement at this year’s CEO, with AT&T to be the carrier on its flagship phones.

Due to concerns of Beijing’s ability of espionage through the reportedly government approved/backed phone.

Followed by several American Intelligence Agencies – FBI / CIA / NSA – warning Americans not to use or buy Huawei or ZTE devices for similar concerns.

A concern not yet shared with Apple’s own iPhone here in the U.S. or abroad.

As Apple is not longer Apple Inc. but has become Apple China.

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About the Author
Born and raised in the Missouri-Ozarks Ryan studied Film Production, and East Asian Culture, at the University of Kansas where he was a UGRA recipient that led him on a seven-year long, Journey From the West, to China. Where he worked with Warner Brothers, the China Film Group Corp. and the National Bureau of Statistics of China. Before returning to the States, where he specializes in Chinese Anime & Comics, China’s Box-Office, and Chinese entertainment-tech industries. He has a dog in China, Abigail, and a dog in the Arkansas-Ozarks, King Blue, who help ease his anxiety of suffering from the “Two-Dimensional Complex” that is trying to understand the Culture Industry landscapes of the Middle Kingdom.