Chinese media slam Apple's 'arrogance'

Chinese media slam Apple's 'arrogance'

Summary: In a series of editorial spanning a week, state-owned newspaper People's Daily criticizes Apple's discriminatory policies and arrogance toward Chinese consumers. Other local media note the significance of this heavy focus.

SHARE:

China's state-owned newspaper People's Daily launched a week-long editorial lashing out at Apple's discriminatory policies and arrogant treatment of Chinese consumers.

The first article titled "Apple bit 'God'"--in reference to a Chinese idiom which states "customers are God"--was published in the Chinese-language paper on March 25 criticized the tech giant's discriminatory acts toward Chinese iPhone users with regard to its after-sales service policy. 

Over four days through to March 29, the newspaper published four more articles or commentaries on Apple which were also picked up by other local media, titled "What has Apple been doing wrong", "Apple must fix unparalleled arrogance", "Apple avoided taxes totaling billions of dollars a year", as well as "Changes to Apple's maintenance warranty only superficial".

Earlier on March 15, which was World Consumer Rights Day, the country's state-owned TV broadcaster China Central Television Station (CCTV) had alleged that when Chinese consumers sent in their defective iPhones, they only get a refurbished iPhone with the back cover from the original phone. In comparison, consumers in other countries will receive a refurbished iPhone. Chinese consumers will need to pay an extra 580 yuan (US$92) if it prefers a new cover, according to the report.

In a immediate reply to the reports, Apple simply said the team had been "working to surpass the expectations of consumers, and highly values the opinions and suggestions from every consumer". In a later statement, the American company said its warranty policy was "higher than the national standard". People's Daily denounced Apple's response to the problems in a "self-praise" way.

On March 28, U.S.-based People's Daily reporter Chen Yiming also published a storyon the newspaper stating he  had been trying to interview Apple's headquarter on the issue, but had been blocked by the company's Chinese and U.S. public relations representatives.

It is rare for a Chinese government-backed newspaper to focus on one single company in consecutive editorials that span almost a week. An opinion piece by Sina.com questioned if People's Daily heavy focus on Apple's indifference toward Chinese consumers put the American company's China footprint in crisis. The report recalled that when CCTV 12 years ago slammed Toshiba for its discriminatory acts regarding laptop maintainance involving Chinese consumers, Toshiba's market share dropped out of the top 10 in China after topping the market for consecutive four years.

Five years ago, after CCTV's reports on Hewlett-Packard's laptop quality issues, the IT vendor's market shares also slumped from the then-16.6 percent to 5 percent.

In a reply to Chinese newspaper The Beijing News, Apple's Beijing-based spokesperson said there were now conference calls between the company's local and Cupertino headquarter everyday. "We might not even release a statement [to media reports] in the past [but would now do so]. We are trying to make changes," said the spokesperson.

Topics: Tech Industry, Apple, iPhone, China

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

10 comments
Log in or register to join the discussion
  • I hereby slam the Chinese government's ignorance . . .

    . . . of basic human rights. States should not own newspapers. Ever.
    FDanconia
  • Is it really Apple's fault?

    I have heard story of a guy in China who is willing to give up his kidney to have enough money to buy an iPad. People taking a flight to line up to buy an iPhone. I wonder if it is still true, but it appears that the iPhone is a must to show off your social status in China. If all of those are true, then who cares what the People's Daily paper says?

    Apple just needs to stop selling iPhone for a month and there will be riots in the streets all over China. Another month without iPhone and the government will be toppled.
    RelaxWalk
    • @RelaxWalk

      You seriously do not think that way right? :)

      If Apple stops selling iPhone for a month, there will be riots for maximum of one week. Another month and Apple can kiss good bye to sell even a single iPhone in China for sure.
      spicycheeks
  • Media Attacks

    This has nothing to do with Apple's arrogance. The state sponsored media are attacking Apple because it is on the US side in the current Cyber War (Cold). Moving some manufacturing back to the US and deploying chip fabrication and research in Israel has caused the Chinese to have concern. In years past the Chinese used to go after Acer because it was a Taiwanese company. However, you will never see any criticism of Lenovo, not only is it a Chinese company but I believe a 35% stake is owned by the PLA. Maybe you should think twice about why those Lenovos seem so much cheaper than competitors units for that business of yours....:)
    ObliviouslySilv
    • I agree

      Chinese authorities have one main goal - economic growth. They will do everything for it even if they have to "step on" some human rights and on other things that would be unthinkable in some other countries.
      I'm not saying they are doing the wrong or the right thing, different cultures must be respected and economy is important for any government on earth. Having said that other countries culture and life style must be not forgotten in trade of cheaper iPhones.
      AleMartin
      • "different cultures must be respected"? No, not really

        I just want to point this out.

        "different cultures must be respected"? Not at all. We should not respect many cultures - Nazis, heart-ripping Aztecs, Calvin's oppressive Geneva, ...

        Not everything in all cultures is worth saving.
        harvey_rabbit
    • Chinese media slam Apple's 'arrogance'

      @GammaHydra
      "Toshiba's market share dropped out of the top 10 in China after topping the market for consecutive four years. ... Five years ago, after CCTV's reports on Hewlett-Packard's laptop quality issues, the IT vendor's market shares also slumped from the then-16.6 percent to 5 percent."
      chinese economy is market driven, in whatever vernacular you want to look at it. their economy may look from an outsider, to be the same old communist planned economy, but they are more patterned to the west market planning. the chinese media editorial against apple was patterned from the west. they criticize whoever they believe is shortchanging their people, just like the west...
      kc63092
  • Chinese media slam Apple's 'arrogance'

    "In comparison, consumers in other countries will receive a refurbished iPhone. Chinese consumers will need to pay an extra 580 yuan (US$92) if it prefers a new cover, according to the report."

    Well that's bad. If it's true then Apple might suffer. However, we know Apple. They may not let this go. At least in the media.
    spicycheeks
    • "consumers in other countries will receive a refurbished iPhone"

      I don't get this. Why are they so upset about getting their own cover back? Did they abuse it that much?

      Who's being arrogant here?
      harvey_rabbit
  • Blackmail

    Ok, if Apple is so horrible to those poor little people, then STOP buy their f-ing crap.

    There is one of two things happening here:

    Someone or some company wants something from Apple and are picking on the “warranties issue” to create bad PR situation for Apple. China is somehow pressuring Apple, an American company, into some outside deal we do not see.

    OR, they are indeed being treated unfairly, then they are f-ing idiots for buying Apple products. So they should be ignored if all the Chinese laws are obeyed; who wants to listen to idiots?!

    The fact that every time an Apple product is released in China, there are almost riots to theirs hands on it – I doubt the latter is the case.
    Cain69