CCTV claims discriminatory practices by Apple in China

CCTV claims discriminatory practices by Apple in China

Summary: State broadcaster alleges Apple practices different after-sales policies in China compared with other markets. However, subsequent online activities suggest the anti-Apple campaign was premeditated.

TOPICS: Apple, iPhone, China

On March 15, which commemorated World Consumer Rights Day, China Central Television Station (CCTV), the country's state-owned TV broadcasting network, aired its annual investigative program that unveiled a series of anti-consumer practices conducted by well-known companies.

The program spotlighted Apple this year, which claimed Cupertino was treating Chinese consumers with discrimination with regard to its after-sales service policy.

Unlike other countries where consumers will get a refurbished iPhone if their original one is found to be defective during the warranty period, consumers in China--which constitutes Apple's second-largest market globally--get a refurbished iPhone with the back cover from the original phone, according to CCTV. For a new back cover, they need to pay an extra 580 yuan (US$92), it added.

The broadcaster also claimed in the program Apple refuses to adhere to local regulations to offer consumers the full warranty period upon fixing the phone, instead choosing to follow the original warranty timeframe. 

The report got an immediate reply from Apple on the same night, but it was a non-statement. In a BBC report, Apple said: "Our team has been working to surpass the expectations of consumers, and highly values the opinions and suggestions from every consumer."

Twist in the tale

What happened after the program was aired provided another twist to the tale, though. A number of well-known public figures and celebrities took to Sina Weibo to criticize Apple following CCTV's program, but one posting from Taiwan-based singer and actor Peter Ho hinted that the whole online campaign was pre-planned.

Ho posted: "It turns out Apple played so many tricks on its after-sales service. As an Apple fan, I feel hurt. Do you think such policies will have been approved by Steve Jobs? How about the young people who sold a kidney just to get an iPhone? Apple bullies the consumers as it is a dominant player in the market! Distribute the message at around 8.20 pm."

The last sentence, which he clearly forgot to delete before posting, showed that Ho was notified in advance to criticize Apple when the program was being shown. Chinese netizens also found that similar messages on Sina Weibo by of other celebrities were also posted around 8.20 pm.

But in a subsequent post on Sina Weibo, Ho then declared his account was hacked and he reported the case to the police.

Ho was also found in a Samsung Galaxy S3 advertisement by Chinese netizens. Some Chinese netizens suggested, tongue-in-cheek, that he was working undercover for Apple, rather than Samsung, since his "mistake" successfully diverted the public's attention from the South Korean giant's launch of its flagship Galaxy S4 smartphone on the same day.


Topics: Apple, iPhone, China

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  • Censorship?

    This is ridiculous. Zdnet software has twice censored my posts falsely claiming

    "Your comment contains profanities and will not appear on the site until it has been checked by a moderator."

    Mr. Moderator, as you can see there were NO PROFANITIES IN MY POSTS

    Why are they being censored?
    Secular Investor
    • ZDNet has ties to CCTV?

      Jk of course but I have noticed their profanity filter has some serious issues as well.

      This story has lots of little twists and turns and it is sad the author did not go deeper into some of them.
    • Moderation...

      I believe Cnet and Zdnet(sister sites) share the same CBS moderator team. I've given up with Cnet over totally opaque policies where I was banned after flagging some needless gross obscenity. When I complained they sent me an email saying I had posted the original comment. I was able to take a screen shot of the original before they deleted the thread but now they refuse to acknowledge my further enquiries. It's a totally arbitrary process that has seen many long standing posters banned with no explanation and no feedback whilst allowing totally anarchy by trolls and disinformation merchants who make multiple posts ensuring page hits galore. In fact it appears they almost encourage controversy to ensure ad sales.
      Corrupt is hardly good enough to describe their attitude.
      Having had my say, maybe this won't last long? However, I have had no problems to date with this site and the tone here is positive by comparison
  • Anti- Apple Conspiracy

    I have tried to provide links to more media coverage of their anti-Apple conspiracy involving CCTV, celebrity "Samsung Spokes Person" Peter Ho and other celebrities.

    However for some reason ZDnet software has twice censored my posts of the false grounds that they contained profanities. Perhaps their software considers mention of other media outlets a "PROFANITY" ....LOL

    Anyway, so that readers may follow the story of the underhand concerted anti-Apple campaign in China, I am posting the headlines so that readers can Google them and read the other articles and the comments of readers to those articles.

    The story was apparently first exposed in the West by by a website called tealeafnation with the headline:

    "Prominent Weibo Users Paid to Bash Apple? Introducing China’s ’820 Party"

    It was picked up by can fortune with the headline:

    "Chinese TV caught asking celebrities to bash Apple "

    South China Morning Post with the headline

    "Attacking Apple backfires for CCTV"
    Secular Investor
  • That CCTV exposé has been torn apart.

    From the funding to the "local regulations" that aren't. Even the back cover thing is related to monogrammed covers only.

    It would be nice to see zdnet put a bit more effort into their writing.
  • Simple

    Communists and Marxists dislike successful companies, that are not government controlled. It is obvious that the Chinese dislike capitalism, but the predominantly liberal press (media) also dislikes non-union companies that are successful.