Art by Mike Sullivan
Aug. 18, 2020 7:01 AM PDT

In 2017, Apple rolled out a flurry of projects executives hoped would endear it to Chinese officials. It announced three new research and development centers in China and ceded control of Chinese user data to a local partner. Soon after, Apple’s newly appointed head of Greater China, Isabel Ge Mahe, had meetings with Chinese regulators. 

Instead of praising Apple’s overtures, the officials delivered a blunt message: Apple wasn’t untouchable and had better comply with all Chinese laws, according to a person briefed on the meetings.

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