All the signs point to Bloomberg having gotten things badly wrong with its story claiming that Apple discovered Chinese spy chips in its servers.

But despite everyone backing Apple’s denials, the story does have the potential to do a lot of PR damage – including to Apple’s relationship with China. Which may explain why CEO Tim Cook is currently visiting Shanghai …

Tim Cook has posted some photos on his Weibo account. He notes that the city changes every time he visits.

Hello again! 👋 Hai Na Baichuan, Shanghai is changing with each passing day.

He visited one of Shanghai’s Apple Stores, and showed off the ability to use the Apple Watch to pay for public transit in the city.

I just experienced the Shanghai ferry with my own Apple Watch transportation card.

Cook also visited a Yoga studio to see members using their Apple Watch to measure workouts, and congratulated photographers ChenMan and Bigshot on their work shot on the iPhone XS Max.

The spy chip story isn’t the only controversy surrounding Apple and China at present. The company largely escaped tariffs imposed by the Trump administration, something Cook was later asked to justify.

I don’t want to speak for [the Trump administration], but I think they’ve looked at this and said that it’s not really great for the United States to put a tariff on those type of products.

Cook often has to walk a delicate line between maintaining good relationships with China and addressing controversies such as the move to store iCloud data locally for Chinese users. This was done in partnership with a Chinese company owned by the local government, raising concerns about privacy and the safety of those critical of China’s government. He last week spoke about this to Vice.

It’s not easy for anybody to get it. I mean it’s encrypted like it is everywhere. And so no, I wouldn’t I wouldn’t get caught up in the, ‘Where’s the location of it?’ I mean, we have servers located in many different countries in the world. They are not easier to get data from being in one country versus the next.

If you lock your phone in China, I can’t open it. The thing about China that people have confused is that certain countries, China being one, have a requirement that data from local citizens has to be kept in China. We worked with a Chinese company to provide iCloud. But the keys are ours.

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About the Author

Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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