HONG KONG (AP) The high-profile attendance of Apple and Google leaders at a Chinese conference to promote Beijing's vision of a censored Internet highlights the dilemma for Western technology companies trying to expand into one market each time more lucrative but restricted. 19659002] The Wuzhen event, a historic channel outside Shanghai, marked the first time that the heads of two of the world's largest technology companies attended the annual World Internet Conference.
Apple CEO Tim Cook told the meeting The conference opened on Sunday that his company prided itself on working with Chinese partners to build a "common future in cyberspace."
The presence of him and his Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, along with other business leaders, diplomats and other experts, according to some badysts, helped to grant the credibility of Beijing's preferred version of the Internet contrasts sharply with the dedication of Silicon Valley to an access without restrictions.
Chinese President Xi Jinping promised in a statement to the conference conveyed by an official that "China's door to the world will never close, but will open more."
As in previous years, the organizers allowed attendees unrestricted access to the Internet, contrary to the official policy according to which internet users face extensive surveillance and censorship and can not access many sites abroad through the Internet. called Great Firewall of China.
Since Xi came to power in 2013, he has tightened controls and drowned out free expression, activists say. [19659002PresentationsofPenialsoseecompanyWesterncountriessuchasGoogleTwitterandFacebookwhichhavegradedparticularlyexcludedfromthemarketbypbadinglocalinternetaggiantslikeTencent
Apple has a large production base in China, which is one of its largest markets, although domestic smartphone manufacturers are catching up.
It has been criticized by some application developers for meeting China's censorship demands. In July, companies that allow people to avoid government Internet filters, known as virtual private network providers, said their programs had been removed from Apple's app store in China. One of those companies, ExpressVPN, said Apple was "helping China's censorship effort."
Apple said China began demanding this year that developers of private virtual networks have a government license. The California-based technology giant said it had eliminated applications "in China that do not comply with the new regulations." Two Apple spokespersons could not be reached by phone to comment.
"The problem is that these companies are among a difficult place," said Rogier Creemers, a researcher from China at the University of Leiden who attended the conference. They covet China's huge market, but if they do, as in Apple's case, local law "requires things that Western observers generally feel uncomfortable with," he said.
Cook's speech attracted a large crowd. He said the company supports more than 5 million jobs in China, including 1.8 million software developers who have earned more than 112 billion yuan ($ 17 billion).
It is Apple's responsibility to ensure that "technology is impregnated with humanity," he said, avoiding mentioning any sensitive issue.
Google closed the Chinese version of its search engine in 2010 for censorship issues. Pichai has spoken of wanting to re-enter China, and said at a round table in Wuzhen that small and medium-sized Chinese companies use Google services to take their products to other countries, according to a report in the South China Morning Post. A Google spokesperson declined to comment.
Technological giants may have chosen to appear at the conference because the current political climate in the United States encourages a pragmatic approach in the pursuit of business regardless of other concerns, said Jonathan Sullivan, director of the University of China's Policy Institute of Nottingham.
"There has never been a time when the White House did not convene a US company to pursue an entrepreneurial approach," Sullivan said.