What China's Talking About Today: Outrage Over Apple CEO's Earnings

By Massoud Hayoun

A New York Times infographic suggested Tim Cook pulled in $378 million in 2011.

cook april9 p.jpg

Apple CEO Tim Cook Reuters

Over the weekend, the New York Times ran an article on executive compensation that included a graphic reporting that Apple CEO Tim Cook "was paid $378 million in 2011." That figure, as several blogs noted, is a bit misleading as it includes restrictive stock units that are worth millions now but can't be cashed out for years. Cook's actual salary in 2011 was, as the Times article noted, a more reasonable $900,000.

But in China, the less-than-accurate $378 million figure has already become gospel -- and a source of some public anger. The graphic sparked a hot topic on Sina Weibo, where close to two million users commented on the story in less than a day.

Many responses observe the stark contrast between Cook's salary and that of Apple-supplier Foxconn's Chinese workers, who are helping to build his empire, microchip by microchip.

"Apple CEO Tim Cook makes $378 million a year. That equal to the entire Foxconn staff's salary in 60,000 years," said user Zheng Zhongxiang.

Countless other users seemed to micro-blog some version of the joke, "that's a whole lot of apples."

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/04/what-chinas-talking-about-today-outrage-over-apple-ceos-earnings/255625/