EC Apple Amidst US-China Wars

Apple logo in front of a building

Image Source: Unsplash

America's most valuable $2 trillion company is no longer immune to US geopolitics. Apple's (AAPL) global success is an anomaly to the protectionist Trump-Biden administrations - for all the wrong reasons.

Recently, Apple announced a set of additional privacy protections. The “private relay” feature will not be available to users in China. After the announcement, New York Times reported that Apple had given in to Beijing. 

In fact, in addition to China, the privacy feature will not be available to users in many countries, including Belarus, Colombia, Egypt, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkmenistan, and Uganda. 

No multinational can ignore local responsiveness

Since the 1980s, the leading multinationals have sought to reconcile global efficiencies with responsiveness to local markets. Nonetheless, many American technology giants still earn the bulk of their revenues in the high-income US and Western European markets. 

In contrast, Apple has proved more innovative in global markets. In China, the company is trying to adjust to local market practices, just as all foreign and especially Chinese companies face great adjustment pressures in the US. 

There’s a difference, though. Apple and other foreign ICT giants remain welcome in the Chinese mainland. 

Yet, the reverse no longer applies, as evidenced by a decade of increasing persecution of Chinese technology companies in America from Huawei to Tik Tok, and the consequent plunge of Chinese FDI in America.

Where’s the money

Still another protectionist assumption is the idea that "the Chinese are taking away American jobs." The assumption is flawed. 

In August 2018, Apple became the first publicly-traded US company valued at over $1 trillion; today its market capitalization amounts to $2.2 trillion. Its products are said to have some 1.7 billion users worldwide. Let’s illustrate the point with the value captured as a percent of the retail price of a smartphone (iPhone 7). 

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Dr. Dan Steinbock is an internationally recognized strategist of the multipolar world and the founder of Difference Group. He has served at the India, China and America Institute (USA), Shanghai ...

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William K. 2 months ago Member's comment

Comparing pay without comparing the cost of living in an area is very intentionally misleading. And it is likely that China doe not have the equivalent of our federal reserve constantly pushing for more inflation. It doe cost less for a worker to live in China, so a comparison with what it cost here in the USA is a false comparison.

Angry Old Lady 2 months ago Member's comment

Exactly right, William.