Tuesday, April 2, 2013

China Criticizes Apple

Apple’s popularity has been on the rise in China. Iphones and ipads have become "must-have" accessories, particularly among urbanites; their stores overflowing with customers trying out the latest gadgets.

But China’s relationship with Apple has taken a beating. The Silicon Valley-based technology giant has been the target of scathing criticism from state media and even bloggers in China. The anger is that Chinese consumers are being given a raw deal.

It all began when China Central Television (CCTV) revealed on March 15, 2013 – marking World Consumer Day – that Apple allegedly applied a different service policy to Chinese consumers than in other countries and regions.

Following this CCTV report, China’s official Communist Party newspaper, the People’s Daily, published an editorial titled, “Let’s strike away Apple’s unparalleled arrogance,” which was about as subtle with its criticism of the company as the title suggested. Other media like Guangming Daily and The Global Times also joined in the fray.

The said report caught the attention of Chinese bloggers who used China’s Twitter-like social media platform, Weibo, to express growing disappointment with Apple. Deng Fei, a well-known journalist, and popular blogger Liu Jishou took to their accounts to trumpet the negativity surrounding Apple.

“When it comes to China, a market with great potential, Apple has taken advantage of its fans’ crazy enthusiasm by using incredulous sales tactics,” wrote blogger Shu Shusi, a commentator on consumer issues. Not only are iPhones released later and sold at a higher price in China than elsewhere, their after-sales service is bad too, he added.

However, there are Chinese fans too who rose to Apple's defense. They contended that this was a "well-coordinated" campaign led by the Chinese government to clobber the US company. But why? It doesn't make sense. We shouldn't see 'conspiracy' behind everything the Chinese do.

It is also said that Apple was merely the victim of China's retaliation against the US government due to the latter’s treatment of Chinese telecom giants. Huawei and ZTE which have long been operating under very restrictive terms and conditions in the US market supposedly because of security considerations.

Whatever the reasons and whether the company is at fault or not, Apple cannot afford to displease the Chinese government. After all, Apple CEO Tim Cook had declared that China will soon become the company’s biggest market. If Apple is to continue to fend off Samsung, the former must find a way to make amends with the authorities. Business is business, right?

Sometimes, men think too highly of themselves! Here is a piece of good advice to remember:

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