China orders stepped-up scrutiny on Apple

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BEIJING – Apple is to face “strengthened supervision” from China’s consumer watchdogs, state media reported Friday, as the US computer giant is hit by a barrage of negative publicity in the country.

China is Apple’s second-biggest market, and its iPhones and other products — many of them made in the country — are highly popular, although it faces fierce competition from South Korea’s Samsung.

State media have carried a series of attacks against Apple, with the People’s Daily, the Communist Party’s official mouthpiece, running critical items for five consecutive days over alleged double standards in customer service and returns policies.

Apple has denied those accusations in statements to Chinese media but the condemnations have continued unabated, with the newspaper urging consumers to “strike away Apple’s unparalleled arrogance” in one of its commentaries.

The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) has asked trading standards bodies across the country to step up “contract supervision” on electronics manufacturers “such as Apple”, the People’s Daily said Friday.

“Local governments are required to… investigate and punish illegal activities in accordance with the law,” it quoted the SAIC as saying in an official note.

An SAIC spokesman who declined to be named confirmed the existence of the document to AFP but declined to disclose details on the grounds it was for internal circulation.

The People’s Daily articles follow reports on state broadcaster CCTV, but users of China’s Twitter-like weibos have been split, with some backing Apple and saying state-owned Chinese firms were more deserving of targeting for poor service.

Skepticism about the media attack among web users rose after a prominent singer condemned the firm but his post included a line on when it should be sent, heightening speculation that it was an organized campaign.

Columnist and microblogger Lian Peng said he bought a new iPad Friday “on purpose” and will “seriously consider buying an iPhone 5″.

“I don’t fancy electronic items. But I feel embarrassed if I don’t purchase after seeing the bombardment of advertising jointly staged by CCTV and the People’s Daily,” he wrote.

But any underlying motive behind the attacks remains unclear.

No-one from Apple’s China office was available for comment Friday.

The California-based company has also been embroiled in legal disputes in China over alleged intellectual property rights infringements.

Apple appeared in a Shanghai court on Wednesday accused by a Chinese firm of infringing its patent for voice recognition software used for the iPhone’s “Siri” personal assistant.

On Friday Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post newspaper said a state-owned Shanghai animation film studio had sued Apple in a Beijing court for allegedly selling its movies without approval, seeking compensation of 3.3 million yuan ($530,000).

The court did not respond to a request for comment from AFP Friday, while the film studio declined to do so.

The legal challenges come after Apple last year paid $60 million to Chinese computer maker Shenzhen Proview Technology to settle a long-running dispute over the “iPad” trademark, whose ownership was claimed by both companies.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • kismaytami

    chinks want to shoo Apple away because they already know Apple’s tech secrets.

  • indiosbravos2002

    China trying to hit back US on the ZTE issue. Apple best if you find alternative factories. China will not stop until thwy ruin your business.

  • indiosbravos2002

    Pull out Japan and US from China . Their economy will crumble along with their military might (kuno).

  • indiosbravos2002

    Open up Apple so that these filthy communists can steal your trade secrets.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001318042054 Dy Leon

    The communist chinese will let you in, for only one reason, to steal your technology and then will kick you out. The communist chinese will go to other country pretending to buy but in reality they want to sell. If the communist chinese cannot steal from you, they will just grab it from you in your face. Western based companies should think twice and three times before investing in communist china. And they have a back door to get in to your company. They will buy a stake in your company and will bring a part of your manufacturing to China and at the end of the day you end up nothing and they will change your company’s name from ‘Apple’ to ‘Cherry’ completely made in communist china.. Watch about this, it will happen , so be very vigilant of these communist chinese., Before they are cheaters and robbers in Mao suit, now they are in business suits but just the same , they are cheater and robbers.

  • akramgolteb

    These bastards don’t play fair anywhere. They use their propaganda machine when ever they want to put down a foreign business doing well in their country. They did it with Sony, Mitsubishi, Toyota, Lipton Tea & a lot of other foreign companies doing business there. What everyone needs to do is pull out their manafacturing facilities out of China & move somewhere else specially the big businesses. This will; hurt their labor market & economy in the long term. This will all lead to strife & discent among their people which will eventually lead to a true revolution. Eventually majority of the citizenry will keep out the communist pigs out of China.

    • http://www.facebook.com/william.dungo.5 William Dungo

      the current president of the philippines is like china. they use their propaganda machine just to cover up their mistake. Sa kahirapan, nagugutom na mamamayan,
      krimen (patayan, kidnapan, mga holdupan prostitution at mara mi pang iba laban at pangit para sa lipunan. kotongan nang mga emplyado nang gobyerna.

  • staad

    china just wants the tech secrets of apple for itself using govt policies. old news

  • koolkid_inthehouse

    Trump up accusations without basis. They want to promote local brand Made in China smartphones but can’t compare quality with Apple iPhone. Even Chinese knows that Communist product brand can’t be trusted.

  • calipso_2100

    The top pirates and stealers of intellectual property in the world is suing over IP. Hehehe.

    Apple, you are welcome here in the Philippines.

  • kasile

    See, what you get doing business in China.

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