The China story behind Apple’s $3 trillion valuation, with Doug Guthrie

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This week on China Corner Office, Chris Marquis talks to Doug Guthrie, who from 2014 to 2019 led Apple University’s efforts on leadership and organizational development in China. Apple recently became the first company ever to reach a $3 trillion market cap, and Doug and Chris discuss how Apple’s current success is due in large measure to the deep partnerships the company has in China. A very visible part of this, of course, is the impressive sales of iPhones and other products to Chinese consumers. In the last 5 years, about 20% of Apple’s sales have been in China. But as Doug emphasizes, an even bigger factor for the company’s success globally is the concentration of Apple’s supply chain in China. This allows Apple and other companies like Tesla to benefit from programs like the government’s labor dispatch system, which channels hundreds of millions of migrant workers to companies that need them on a temporary basis. All this leads to incredible profitability for the company, and as Doug argues, it cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world. But as you’ll hear, this gives the Chinese government significant leverage over companies such as Apple and Tesla that are essentially “married to China.”

A transcript of this conversation is available on SupChina.com.