Doug Guthrie, a leading American expert on the current stand of China in various industries, says that he warned Apple about the risks of doing business in the country. He was hired by the iPhone maker in 2014 to help the company better make strides in China.
Guthrie has spent several years in China to understand the industries there. In 1994, he rode his bicycle between various factories in Shanghai, as part of his dissertation. After that, he turned out to be one of the known experts during the time when China was turning towards capitalism.
A complete change in government policies
However, in 2013, Xi Jinping took the highest office in China, as the president of the country. According to Guthrie, Xi Jinping was relying on companies like Apple to make himself strong in China. It would have been impossible and still continues to be difficult for tech companies to exit China, as it is a very lucrative market and it is very economical to manufacture and assemble products.
“I was going around to business leaders, and I’m like: ‘Do you guys understand who Xi Jinping is? Are you listening to what’s going on here?’” said Mr. Guthrie, in an interview. “That was my big calling card.”
Guthrie tells the story of the investments the western companies have made in China over the years. While most companies and even many governments hoped that investments in China would lead the country towards liberalization, it appears as if all the steps had been miscalculated.
“It was always difficult for Western companies to do business in China, but in many ways the challenges have shifted,” said Samm Sacks, a specialist on China at the New American Foundation. “The Communist Party is firmly in control, and both Western companies and Chinese companies in the private sector have been under attack.”