Apple CEO Tim Cook 'secretly' signed a deal estimated to be worth more than $275 billion with Chinese officials allegedly promising Apple would do its part to develop China's economy and technological prowess through investments, business deals and worker training, The Information reported.
The Apple CEO reportedly forged the five-year agreement, which has not been previously reported, "during the first of a series of in-person visits he made to the country in 2016 to quash a sudden burst of regulatory actions against Apple's business," according to internal Apple documents viewed by The Information.
"Before the meetings, Apple executives were scrambling to salvage the company's relationship with Chinese officials, who believed the company wasn't contributing enough to the local economy, the documents show. Amid the government crackdown and the bad publicity that accompanied it, iPhone sales plummeted," the report said late on Tuesday.
The report alleged that Cook "personally lobbied officials" in China over threats made against Apple Pay, iCloud and the App Store.
Apple was yet to comment on the report. The report further alleged that in an aim to "mollify" authorities, Apple announced an investment of $1 billion in Didi Chuxing.
Shortly after, Cook, along with Apple COO Jeff Williams and government affairs head Lisa Jackson allegedly met senior government officials in Zhongnanhai, the central headquarters of the Communist Party of China, GizmoChina reported, citing The Information.
As part of the agreement, Apple reportedly promised to use more components from Chinese suppliers in its devices, sign deals with Chinese software firms, collaborate on technology with Chinese universities and directly invest in Chinese tech companies.
The company has also promised to invest "many billions of dollars more" than its current expenditure in China, including on new retail stores, research and development facilities and renewable energy projects.