Report: Apple and other products subject to new security reviews in China

Tim Cook catching a very expensive cab in China — on Monday he tweeted a photo of himself hailing a ride using Didi Chuxing, the Uber rival that Apple recently announced a $1 billion investment in — probably doesn’t mean smooth riding for Apple in the country from now on. Amid tension between the U.S. and China, China is subjecting Apple products to security reviews, the New York Times reports.

The report, which says products by other big foreign companies are also getting scrutinized by a committee associated with the Cyberspace Administration of China, suggests that Cisco and Microsoft may be among those other companies.

The NYT report also comes on the heels of a recent Bloomberg article that China has shut down Apple’s iTunes Movies and iBooks in that nation. That, along with slowing iPhone sales in China, was seen as one of the reasons Apple’s CEO is currently visiting the world’s most populous nation.

Cook earlier this month tried to reassure investors about the company’s prospects in China after famed activist investor Carl Icahn sold his entire stake in Apple over his concerns about the company’s business in that country.

“You worry a little bit — and maybe more than a little — about China’s attitude,” Icahn told CNBC at the end of April.

That “attitude,” according to the NYT report, manifests itself in the reviews of products that include those meant for consumers, such as software and gadgets. The reviews require company workers and executives to answer questions in person, the NYT’s sources say.

The reviews come after China has so far failed to enact strict laws that would’ve rejected foreign-made technology in Chinese banks, and after it had to water down an anti-terrorism law that would’ve required foreign companies to hand over encryption keys to the government. According to the New York Times article, the reviews are sparking concerns that China could block American tech products “or to extract trade secrets in exchange for market access.”

Speaking of handing things over: When Bruce Sewell, Apple’s general counsel, went before Congress recently amid its battle with the FBI over an encrypted iPhone, he said China had asked the company to share its source code but the company refused.

But back to Cook’s visit to China, which did include the aforementioned Didi ride and a meeting with Chinese startups, as the Wall Street Journal reported. However, the company did not say whether he met with Chinese regulators.

Photo: The “leaf” on the logo of Apple store turns green to welcome the World Earth Day on April 20, 2016 in Hangzhou, the capital of the Zhejiang province in China. (VCG via Getty Images)


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  • Will Sampson

    This article is a bunch of jingoistic bullshit. What would you do if you knew that NSA and CIA were well known for stealing whatever they could? and I support NSA and CIA OVERSEAS, but not rapaciously in the US.

    And the Chinese are “reviewing” US products, which may not be perfect, but is better than pissing on the wall paper like the US congress does at the thought of importing Chinese tech.

    The US thinks that the world should kowtow…

  • fstein

    We can thank FBI director, Comey, for this.